Being a teenager sucks. It’s a brief moment in your life where you have all the physical ability of an adult and the legal status of a 2-year-old. Constitutional rights don’t apply to minors in this country. Right to bear arms? Right to vote? Right against unwarranted search and seizures? Right to a speedy trial? Nope. There are laws for minors, but they are not in the Constitution. There is a movement in this country to give constitutional rights to fetuses? I say – aim lower – start with 16-year-olds.
Proposition 73 wants to amend the constitution of California so that doctors must notify the parents of girls under the age of 18 before performing an abortion. This would give an already legally impotent group of people – even fewer rights by implementing the same red tape that exists for a school field trip.
Both pro and con on this issue claim to be for the safety of teens. The argument for the amendment says that already over 30 states have similar laws in effect. Safety? I’ll buy that. But the idea of, “Well, they do it like this in Alabama.” is not a good selling point.
The million signatures the proponents boast to have gathered are understandable. The feeling is, “I don’t like abortions, and I especially don’t like the idea of teenagers having sex – where do I sign?”
I don’t like abortions, either. Who LIKES abortions? Liking an abortion is like LOVING a root canal. It’s not pretty. Actually it’s pretty gross to think about. But thank God no one has tried to make root canals illegal on the grounds of their being gross to think about.
I also don’t like the idea of young kids having sex. That’s why I don’t watch the WB! I would tell any teenager who would listen (yeah right) that they should stop imitating Paris Hilton, read a book and stop kicking the back of my seat at the movie theater. If you could put all that on a ballot – you’d get my vote. Otherwise, teenagers are going to have sex regardless of the tally.
But this proposition claims its ‘for our daughters’ safety, health and protection’. Really? How are those three things going to be accomplished by permission slips? If this measure passes, the girls could still bypass their parents being notified by going to a judge. So, what is this about?
It’s really about what Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner wrote in their book Freakonomics: “For certain types of misbehavior, social incentives are terribly powerful. In an echo of Hester Prynne’s scarlet letter, many American cities now fight prostitution with a “shaming” offensive, posting convicted johns (and prostitutes) on websites and local-access television.”
Proposition 73 is a shaming offensive. Don’t have sex because you’ll get pregnant and if you get pregnant you will either have to go to your parents or a judge and then everyone will know what you did.
I know some of you are thinking, “Good. Being a young girl and getting an abortion is nothing to be proud of.” To you I ask: Who is ever proud of getting an abortion? And why does being under 18 make public humiliation not only acceptable but necessary and appropriate?
My main problem with this tactic is that it makes pregnancy a punishment and bureaucracy a consequence. All before you get to ENJOY some of the freedoms we fought so hard to have in this country: like drinking, smoking, gambling, owning a gun and SIGNING petitions to annoy teenagers.
And the shame and punishment belong only to the girl in the situation. I would be more likely to support this initiative if there were a notification to the father’s parents, too. “Dear Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Congratulations. It seems your 25-year-old son was trolling the high school again. You’re being notified that he got one pregnant. Please deal with him accordingly.”
Unlike other initiatives for this special election, (i.e., teachers, public employees and seniors) the people this law effects most can’t vote on it. Aside from the moral issues raised by abortion, this amendment is cruel and unusual punishment for a small minority of the population. And yes, they do need protecting. They should be protected from Proposition 73.