How often have we either heard or said the same thing ourselves? Every time we read of a young person committing a crime and being arrested, caught up in some troubles, victimized by older people or even bullying other young people, that question is one of the first things we hear many step up and ask.
None of us stop and think that we have allowed government to intrude into our family life so much that parents have been relegated to secondary status behind teachers, school officials, Child Protection Services and more. Parents are expected to be responsible for their children, but at the same time big brother is looking over their shoulder and either injecting themselves between parent and child or encouraging the child to ignore their parents’ values and do as they say they should do.
Case in point, abortions on teenage girls without parents consent or even their knowledge.
Here in Washington State, laws pertaining to medical care of the young are very explicitly spelled out in regards to our education system and dispensing of medications and care in a printable guideline of when parental consent is not required.
As it should be, an unemancipated minor can receive emergency medical care without waiting for the parents to consent. And what parent would not want their child to receive immediate treatment in the case of a serious life threatening accident?
But looking down the list we see that our children can be treated for sexually transmitted disease, be placed on birth control, prenatal care, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment and abortions with the parent denied any knowledge of it at all.
At the same time that same child cannot be immunized or receive regular non-emergency healthcare unless the parent is notified and gives their consent. In fact, RCW 28A.210.260 lays out the legal requirements for the dispensing of medications to a child. In sentence 3 we read,
“The public school district or private school is in receipt of a written, current and unexpired request from a parent, or a legal guardian, or other person having legal control over the student to administer the medication to the student;”
In simple terms, “PARENTAL CONSENT.”
A child under the age of 18 cannot even legally be be tattooed in Washington State, but can be placed on birth control or taken down for an abortion should she become pregnant and the parents completely left in the dark.
I’ll be the first one to agree there are some very poor parents, abusive parents and even occasionally incestuous parents, but they are in a distinct minority and when discovered, we have laws to deal with them. But these blanket solutions dreamed up by government over the years has stripped good, decent parents of their parental authority and rights as well.
To combat this invasion of family, 17th Legislative District State Senator Don Benton introduced a bill requiring parental notification when a minor under the age of 17 seeks an abortion. A public hearing was held Wednesday, February 6, 2013 and looking over comments left under the Columbian’s coverage of the hearing you would think Benton’s bill requires young girls to be beaten, abused and strapped with a ball and chain.
For example, several now confuse parental consent with “government intrusion.” Somehow, to them, eliminating the government or the school’s ability to take your daughter down for an abortion and require you be made aware is considered “government intrusion.”
And of course there is the ever present false accusation of “forcing your narrow religious beliefs onto the majority,” even though religion was not mentioned.
Others label it “legislating family communication,” ignoring the it is the government and schools who are interfering with family communication by encouraging your child to ignore your values, obtain free birth control and become sexually active if they feel like it, as many mid-teens unaware of the hormonal changes occurring within their bodies clouds their judgment.
Where these young teens needs the steady guidance of a parent, the school instead urges to submit to their confused feelings and just do it, take some birth control, hide it from your parents and just enjoy. And should the birth control fail, not to worry, the school or Planned Parenthood will help you hide that from your parents, they don’t need to know.
Yet also written into state law is RCW 4.24.190 that reads,
“The parent or parents of any minor child under the age of eighteen years who is living with the parent or parents and who shall willfully or maliciously destroy or deface property, real or personal or mixed, or who shall willfully and maliciously inflict personal injury on another person, shall be liable to the owner of such property or to the person injured in a civil action at law for damages in an amount not to exceed five thousand dollars. This section shall in no way limit the amount of recovery against the parent or parents for their own common law negligence.”
Parents are held responsible for the misdeeds of their minor children, but at the same time are in essence told to butt out in such decisions as sexual activity or terminating a pregnancy?
In the case of a girl with abusive parents or who has been subjected to an incestuous father or step-father, the girl can seek an advocate to petition the court to seek an abortion without a parents’ consent. It would also result in the abusive parent being reported and likely arrested for such conduct. Otherwise, it goes unreported and when the girl returns home, the abuse would continue.
And don’t forget, in the few cases where an abusive parent should be locked out, current law shuts out all parents in that children are told they can do what they desire, submitting to the confusing thoughts and feelings we all once had.
Face it, we too were young once and didn’t tell our parents everything we were doing. Years ago, when we were caught we faced our parents and even though we did not like it, were disciplined for such misconduct. But we learned there are consequences to our actions and parents were expected to take responsibility for whatever their child did, not just when the state says you are responsible.
We cannot demand responsibility from parents while encouraging our children to go around their parents. That sends mixed signals to both the child and the parent.
Some label this bill an effort to end abortions and that just isn’t so. Nothing in the bill denies young girl in trouble an abortion nor does it allow a parent to force their daughter to have an abortion. It just requires the parents’ knowledge prior to an abortion and gets the state out from in between parents and children.
After all, if we want families to better communicate, they don’t need the state teaching the child they don’t have to listen to their parents an interfering with parental authority without just cause.
Another reason parents must have knowledge of a minor girls abortion is the potential of side effects after such a procedure, both in their health and mental state. Even though not very common, as in every medical procedure, there are risks and someone must be aware of what to look out for. If the responsible parents are refused knowledge of the procedure having occurred, they don’t have a clue what is going on should one of the known side effects happen.
Our families, the cornerstone of our society have been steadily deteriorating for some time. We must bring that to a halt and restore families. The state cannot do it and in many ways has been responsible for much of the family deterioration with conflicting laws, over reaching mandates and witch hunts where families are ripped apart by trumped up allegations of wrong doing by over zealous prosecutors trying to build a political reputation.
In cases of actual abuse or neglect on the part of parents, the state must be there to protect the child, but not every family is neglectful and abusive and such conflicting laws and efforts by the state to lock parents out of their child’s decisions can only contribute to the deterioration of the family unit.
Teen years are rough, we all went through them and now realize that is probably when teens need the security of their parents the most, even though like us, refused to see that at the time.
We don’t need the state erecting a wall between parents and children.
Parents must know what their children are doing and must not be locked out of their teen’s lives if they are also to be held accountable for their children.