A mixed Abortion/Healthcare Political Question

Reply Wed 30 Oct, 2002 06:33 pm
At present, I am employed as a Field Interviewer for one of only 3 Universities in the US that are empowered to conduct surveys for the US government. The particular study I work with has been ongoing since 1956, and studies family growth, demographics, family planning, health care, health care providers, teen sex, public knowlege of sources for health information, etc. Two major US departments will be anxious to see the data coming in: Health and Human Services and the CDC.

This survey has been running since last March and will end in February. Over 12,000 at random US households are being polled in extensive interviews on topics just as have been brought up in this discussion!

Whenever you see a news story citing trends in teen pregnancy, rise in interest in adoption, more cohabitation or more marriages, or any general population observation, it comes most often from such a survey commissioned by the government than from the Census. Much of the information that is being returned is eagerly awaited by family planning programs, government agencies, researchers, scientists, journalists, etc. The raw data will take some of it two more years to make sense out of. But, I do feel that this survey will be very responsible for legal and social decisions by leaders in the next decade. Oh yes, I can't be too specific on some things, and I can't comment on what I've seen, because maintaining confidentiality is crucial to the results.
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Reply Wed 30 Oct, 2002 07:01 pm
Lola wrote:
I agree with Sozobe. The most at risk teens are the ones most in need of this legislation. For those states where a pregnant teenager is emancipated, I think, unless she is also married, she is no longer emancipated once the pregnancy is terminated. I'm pro choice as well. And it is often the case that teen age girls are forced by their parents to have babies they do not want and are ill equipped to care for. When this happens, it's a tragedy for everyone concerned. I've seen cases in which parents then insist that the teen age mother care for the child, resulting in disasterous outcomes. No pregnant person should require the consent of another person to make a decision about their own ability and/or willingness to care for a child. This is the decision of the pregnant woman (whether she's a child herself or not.) I do think that extremely young pregnant children should receive help in informing her parents, unless the parents are the type to be abusive or to inforce their will on their children. A pregnant woman/teen should be able to choose, one way or the other whether she is prepared to care for her baby. This is not a perfect answer, and not a perfect world. These tragic situations exist and are lived out everyday. And of course, some girls get pregnant in order to be emancipated. It's that bad at home.

So what is it that makes THIS decision something that a 16 year old is capable of making on their own? If they are capable of making a decision regarding an abortion why aren't they capable of making a decision, on their own, to have their teeth cleaned? If a 16 year old is capable of making such decisions then they should also be capable of making much less serious decisons shouldn't they?

As a side issue, here in MA a parent can't "force" their child to have a baby. (Intimidate perhaps but that's another issue..) The girl has the option of going to a judge and getting a the judges consent. The standard for the courts is simply that the person petitioning is making an informed decision. If they can demonstrate that they been to Planned Parenthood or talked to a doctor then they have met the standard. Thusfar the courts have granted conset 100% of the time.
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Reply Wed 30 Oct, 2002 09:06 pm
Hi Fishin,

How much a teenager takes part in making any health care decision for his/herself is a matter of the personality of the teenager and the atmosphere of his/her home. But most teenagers, by the time they're 16 or so are hopefully making most decisions for themselves including medical decision. My teenagers make their own appointments at the dentist, doctor, etc. If they want my help, they ask me, as they often do, but often they ignore my advise. Sometimes they have to learn the hard way, but mostly they make pretty good decisions. Obviously a pregnant teen age girl has been making a few decisions for herself already. She doesn't need her parent's consent to get pregnant. And there's really not much a parent can do about that. A parent can accept the reality that they've had their chance, done what they can and have to hope for the best, or they can fight it, interfere with their teenager's developing sense of agency about herself and her body, and cause misery for everyone concerned. The teen age years are a time when teens and their parents are going through a transition. It can seem to parents and teen that the change is sudden, but it is actually gradual over a five year period. Each year from age 14 to 19 or so allows a little more freedom for a child and less control for a parent. Both parents and teen have a lot of adjusting to do. But the trend, if all is going well, is toward autonomy for both child and parent. It's a liberation of sorts. It's also very frightening for both and some parents try to hold on longer than they should. Others give up too soon.

You wrote:
As a side issue, here in MA a parent can't "force" their child to have a baby. (Intimidate perhaps but that's another issue..) The girl has the option of going to a judge and getting a the judges consent.

Intimidation is no small matter in this delicate balance, and I think a much more inportant factor in teenage pregnancy decisions than the letter of the law. A teenager trying to learn how to run his or her own life is vulnerable to parents who use coersive methods to influence their child. Many a teenage girl has been influenced, brow beaten, or intimidated into having a child she is not prepared or ready to take care of, whether the girl could have gone to a judge and asked for a court order to control her parents or not. When girls are coerced into having an unwanted baby, and it happens too often, the results are usually disastrous. A system giving a pregnant teenage girl the option to seek an abortion without a judge or parental consent makes it at least possible for her to make her own decision, if she will. Hopefully any program providing abortions will have more than adequate staff providing counceling.

The teenage years are full of potential danger. It's a miracle any of us have survived them.
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Reply Wed 30 Oct, 2002 09:11 pm
I worked for the State, with children.
If a girl is old enough to get pregnant, she's old enough to have that pregnancy terminated.
By the time a girl realizes she's pregnant, and tells her parent(s),
is often too late.
Most of the time, the parent(s) is more conservative than the girl, and wants her to have that baby.
And that's why I believe in sex ed by the school.
Often, most of the time, the family can not be counted on to take over this role.
Condoms and oral contraceptives should be offered in school.
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Reply Thu 31 Oct, 2002 06:31 am
Lola wrote:
How much a teenager takes part in making any health care decision for his/herself is a matter of the personality of the teenager and the atmosphere of his/her home. But most teenagers, by the time they're 16 or so are hopefully making most decisions for themselves including medical decision.

This cuts directly to my main point here. A teen of 16 or 17 ISN'T making tose decisions right now. They are barred from doing so by the basic legal concept that they are not (except in limited unusal circmstances) adults and can not give legal consent. Your children may tell YOU what they want but, in teh US, they can't walk into a doctors office and obtain a medical procedure unless YOU authorize it.

The issue is NOT one of abortion at all. It's a legal precendent. Either adulthood is reached and recognized at age 18 or it isn't. Creating more "special circumstances" (and using a hot button issue like abortion to do so..) just creates more problems. IMO, if is is accepted that any 16 year old is capable of making a decsision on their own about something on the level of an abortion then the entire recognition of a person as an adult should be dropped to 16. If the proposal had been to drop the age here for breast implants I suspect many of you would think the exception this to be a bad idea. This isn't an abortion debate. (but I'll get to that in a second... Smile )

If the believe is that if a girl is capable of getting pregnant then she should be allowed to make the decision then why is the proposal to simply move the age limit to another arbitrary age? Why simply lower the age from 18 to 16? 13 and 14 year old are just as capable of getting pregnant yet they would still be excluded.

But, in the political arena, IMO, this all came about because the candiadte that proposed the idea has been trying to paint her opponent as anti-abortion and every time she raises the abortion question he has stated that he, if elected, he had no intentions of changing any of the state's existing abortion laws so what she thought was a political plus for her turned into a dud. She had to scome up with something new and with this, appears to be grasping straws...
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Reply Thu 31 Oct, 2002 06:35 am
I absolutely agree. In this case, the candidate who broght this issue up is creating a "red herring".

It's so funny. Just moments ago, I was spouting off that this site is just fine without ratings. Read your post, and automatically started looking around to where I could click, "valuable". Oh, well, old habits die hard!
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Reply Thu 31 Oct, 2002 12:20 pm
Hi fishin,

I think a law allowing a teen ager to have an abortion without parental consent is an important one because teen pregnancy presents a special problem. Teenagers come from all types of homes. Some are abusive and many parents have a hard time remembering what it was like for them when they were teenagers. As the table turns and the once teenager finds themself in the shoes of a parent of a teen, they suddenly believe they should be able to continue to treat their children as if they're babies when what a teenager really needs to help making their own decisions. It happens to the best of us. With my first, I felt like a jilted lover. A teenager needing an abortion is difficult enough and I believe the decision should be made by the pregnant teenager, not by her parents. A parent saying yes or no to a teenager wanting breast implants does not have the same implications for the teenager, unwanted child, family and community as an unwanted child will have. Obtaining an abortion should be as uncluttered by coercive tactics as is possible to regulate. I don't know about the candidate proposing this in her election debate, but I believe it's a valid issue. And it's presently a very hot topic for the same reason abortion is so touchy.
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Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 11:35 pm
Another abortion debate, yawn
Let us face this one straight on. IF sex education was more liberally permitted at an earlier age; I strongly believe this would cut down on the number of 16 year olds seeking an abortion. If latex condoms were given out AND used, then - if a sex act did occur; at least she would not be risking her very life over sex. In these days and times I can't help but be totally thunderstruck as I watch others ( primarily gentlemen ) butting their noses in what are completely female issues for we women to deal with. We (adults) MUST begin to acknowledge the fact that sexual curiosity is perfectly natural at this age and maybe earlier, and the age at which the curiosity peaks seems to be getting younger and younger each time I hear about it. What IS IT in our society that places such a taboo on sex??? Explain to YOUR daughter how the sex act is performed!! Help her be aware of what is happening to her body. She NEEDS to know what causes a pregnancy! Why do these strange urges keep popping up in a girl of 16 years for example??? She needs to know what is happening in her body as it changes from premenstrual to postmenstrual. And ALL parents must learn to accept the reality of the physiological & hormonal happenings that their girls are growing up, going through, experiencing. It is America's perverse post puritanical taboo on the topic of sexuality that is wrong here. ACCEPT the simple fact that what is physiologically going on is nothing new. Knowledge gives NO license to become sexually active at all. It is simply facts that our children must know. If there is at THIS TIME, a big DEBATE on abortion at the age of 16.....then let's face it!!! These 16 year old girls are already doing the deed!!! But they are left to float around with an absence of hard facts that they really need to know about, AND they have parents who get crosseyed whenever sexuality becomes a topic at the home. Dad goes into hiding in the garage, and Mom suddenly has the urgent need to go do some grocery shopping. Practice talking about it. I DO completely believe that WITH education, girls are much less likely to have sex at all. I remember telling my 3 daughters about the sexual act, and they were sooo disgusted. They ALL said OH YUCK, Mom, do you mean you actually did that 3 times??? I tried not to smile, I did not wish to tell them more than they needed to know at that age.
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New Haven
Reply Mon 18 Nov, 2002 11:47 am
Shannon O'Brien, in my opinion lost many votes because of her views on children having abortions.

The law in Massachusetts states that at the age of 18 years, a young woman may have an abortion (Legally).

I think that at the age of 16 years, a girl may NOT have an abortion unless, she receives the approval of her parents and /or she presents her case before a judge.

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New Haven
Reply Mon 18 Nov, 2002 11:51 am
Moreover, first the age is 18. Then it's lowered to 16 and then to 12 and finally to 10.

Some view this approach to abortion as a legal right of American females.
So it is. But, please consider the moral consequences. If a 10 year girl engages in normal sex ( ie.not incest or rape), becomes pregnant and then has a baby, exactly where are we headed as a society.

What to do:

Sex education in school
Contraceptive measures for girls if necessary ( norplant )
No abortion; give the baby up for adoption.

( strictly my opinion Confused )
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Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2002 09:05 pm
mixed abortion/healthcare question
What I find difficult to understand is WHY this issue is permitted to be debated in any governmental forum/debate/campaign Question
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Reply Sun 24 Nov, 2002 06:47 pm
Re: mixed abortion/healthcare question
babsatamelia wrote:
What I find difficult to understand is WHY this issue is permitted to be debated in any governmental forum/debate/campaign Question

Is there a better place to discuss existing and proposed changes to laws?
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Reply Sun 24 Nov, 2002 08:37 pm
Last night I watched the HBO movie If These Walls Could Talk, a trilogy of three women from the 50s, 60s, and 70s and how they confronted the abortion issue. It was wonderful to see these stories and I would guess the old adage that if men had babies the issue of abortion would not be a hot button issue.
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Reply Sun 24 Nov, 2002 10:48 pm
abortion again!
You are, of course, fishin, perfectly correct.
There is no better place to debate proposed & existing changes
to laws.
As a female, forgive me if I FEEL/SENSE instinctive danger
as others begin debating proposed and existing laws which may
affect, limit, or alter my right (or any of my sister's rights) to have
power and control over our own bodies. I am all too aware of my
"lesser" status in our country of "equals". I become uncomfortable
when a government or group of others begin to covet my right to
my body or any young girl's right to her body's reproductive organs.
I see what direction this "discussion" could lead to, and so do you.
The limiting of the female's rights is where we are heading here.
I saw what happened to OJ's wife, and I saw what our equal laws
did to protect THAT woman, as well as their failure to see to it that
to her murderer, any justice was meted out at all. I saw all this, and
so did you. So do not try to tell me that times have changed or that
things are different now. For if they were, we would not be busily
discussing THIS existing or proposed law, would we?

Imagine, if you can, denying a man the right to a vasectomy?

Are there really laws that stop a man from beating, abusing, killing
HIS female or HIS child?
By this I do not mean laws which exist only on paper.

Vasectomy prevents conception and thus has the same result
as abortion done in the first trimester. Why aren't we discussing that?

Where are there ANY proposed and existing laws which limit any man,
young or old ANY right to care for his body as he sees fit, even if
it is totally covered with lurid tatoos, or full of metal piercings.

As a mere girl of a wife at 17, I had one who later tried to kill me
with the knife as well, and swift feet are what saved THIS life, and
a loyal, fearless friend who saved the lives of my three wee girls.
While the impartial law keepers of my village just stood by there,
they did not arrest him, they did not try to arrest him, nor would
they even remove him from MY home, nor would they even GO
IN my home to ensure the safety of my little girls. I had been
divorced over six months time already when this happened. I
thought I was free. I thought I had rights. These lawkeepers, were
they afraid, or did it just not matter, or what? But they asked if
I had been drinking?? for I was hysterical with fear, you see, for
my little girls were all alone in that house, alone with him, he had
just turned ugly & very abusive, & I had a severe concussion and a
very large compressed skull fracture,along with a few other "love
marks" which remain on me. I carry them to this day.
No - the lawkeepers did not go into my home and get my little
girls out of harm's way. He sat in my home, a drunken insane
Vietnam mental casualty, drugged, drunken, furious, hating all
of life and all of us, while I cried tears and spewed blood all
over my neighbor's new carpet. He tried to follow me in to her
home. How I begged the law keepers to please go & make sure
my little girls are safe from him, he may do them harm, don't you
see, don't you care? They are in danger? Never mind, my brave
friend arrived and took them to her home to be safe with her.
Then; I let the law keepers put me in an ambulance and take me
to a hospital (which is ALL that they did for me) and there I stayed
for over 10 days, crying, crying & not being able to stop. I did not
know that the world was like this, for I had just seen a side of it
unknown to me, and this sight made me very, very sad, sad for me,
and sad for the 3 little women I had brought into this unjust world.
Many years later, when my dermatologist asked me if I wanted him
to fix that rather large dent of a scar on my forehead for me.
I said no. It serves as a reminder to me, and to any who see.
So, if I quake and cower at times as others covet my rights, or
the rights of any of my sisters in this life, (regardless of their age)
to make their own decisions about their our bodies & reproductive
organs and to have a fair right to "equality" in terms of our right
to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, or that of my daughter's
or of my daughter's daughters; it is just a conditioned response on
my part.
Just one of Pavlov's animals salivating on time and on cue.

How many infants do YOU want to see be drowned in toilets?,
found in dumpsters?, or beaten to death by a person far too
young to parent or care for an infant? Don't you see what
happens to infants? Doesn't this make your heart hurt?
YOU can stop this - by letting each young female choose her
own time for bearing a child.

Did you know that up until the late 1800's men were still busy
debating another topic. Would you like to know what it was?
The issue at hand was: DO WOMEN HAVE SOULS?

Then the early 1900's, & a few fearless females fought, went
to jail but kept on fighting until men "allowed" us the RIGHT
TO VOTE. Not much has changed, except now none of us really
have the right to vote, because he who wins, no longer needs
our votes. He needs the money and the media, and little else.
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Reply Sun 24 Nov, 2002 11:16 pm
babsatamelia- I am totally overwhelmed by your story. I think that you are one strong and very brave woman.

It is interesting. I wrote a thread earlier, and so far, it has not generated much interest. But I think that you will understand the power behind it!

Link to bitch thread
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Reply Mon 25 Nov, 2002 07:25 am
Re: abortion again!
babsatamelia wrote:

Imagine, if you can, denying a man the right to a vasectomy?

Are there really laws that stop a man from beating, abusing, killing
HIS female or HIS child?
By this I do not mean laws which exist only on paper.

Vasectomy prevents conception and thus has the same result
as abortion done in the first trimester. Why aren't we discussing that?

Ok, It's really the exact same issue. Should a male under the age of 18 be able to obtain a vasectomy while not being able to legally consent to any other medical procedure?
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Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2002 03:16 am
Why thank you Phoenix - your
words are kind .. Once in awhile, something hits a
certain spot within me, it SPEAKS to me, and then
words just come roaring, rushing, gushing and
clammoring to get out there, put me out there on
paper. I WANT other women especially the younger
ones, to know, and to SEE it as it actually is, rather
than what they WANT to believe it is.
I love "THE BITCH" page!!!!
but is it just a one page thing?
It IS one helluva page. Is there a
thread somewhere else, on A2K?
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Reply Tue 26 Nov, 2002 05:52 am
babsatamelia- Here is is:
Link to "bitch" Thread
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