Page 4-The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 6, 1990
Parental consent laws
harm teenage women E
by Cecelia E. Ober
Last year's Webster decision posed a formidable chal-
lenge to reproductive rights as some states rushed to test
the limits of their newly granted authority to restrict a
woman's access to abortion. The most recent Court
decision upholding parental notification laws in Ohio
and Minnesota sent an unmistakable message of encour-
agoment to other states considering similar measures.
Michigan is among those states that have recently
attempted to enact a parental consent law. Though the
bill was vetoed by Governor Blanchard, it has once
again been brought to a vote in the State Legislature by
a Right to Life of Michigan petition drive.
Parental consent is a particularly insidious threat to
the interests of women. It needs to be met with the
same outrage and resistance any such threat would war-
Like other restrictions on abortion, parental consent
bills capitalize on the ambivalence toward sexuality -
espe'cially toward female and teenage sexuality - that
many people in the U.S. feel.
It also appeals to sentiments most of us share about
our. children's well-being and about parental rights and
Parental consent, however, does not insure the well-
being of minors, nor does it increase meaningful
parental involvement. Rates at which minors inform
their parents of their abortions are the same in Mas-
sachusetts (75%) where a consent law is in effect the
neighboring states of Connecticut and New Hampshire
where there are no such laws.
Those young women who feel they can tell a parent
of their pregnancy will do so in any case. This law will
affect only those teens who fear telling a parent because
of anticipated rejection or actual abuse. For these young
women, this law poses a great risk.
Minnesota judges responsible for hearing nearly all
of the parental notification bypass cases argued that
these laws have only negative effects. Even self de-
scribed "pro-lifer" former Superior Court Judge Paul
Garrety - who presided over hundreds of bypass cases
- felt the laws exist only to "harass these kids."
Unfortunately, the laws have far more dangerous ef-
fects than harassment. Such a law inevitably increases
the number of young women who will risk injury or
death from illegal abortions, dangerous delays, frighten-
ing overnight stays, costs of bypass procedures and
travel across state lines. Delays of one to three weeks
for court proceedings in Minnesota have resulted in a
12% increase in more dangerous second trimester abor-
tions for women under 18.
In Massachusetts, one of three teen abortions was
performed out of state, while those within state dropped
43%. Travel to other states has cost teens up to a six
week delay before an abortion could be performed.
Needless to say, the risks and hardships associated
See CONSENT, Page 8
A women protests potential changes in the nation's abortion laws, on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme
Court ruling. The rally was held at the state capital in Lansing.
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