Sunday, April 22, 2007

The idiocy of "parental consent"

David Brooks finds babies adorable, thinks fetuses are kind of like babies, and bemoans the fact that pro-choicers don't dwell on the baby-ness of the unborn. David Brooks also, if I remember correctly from the ancient days when I last gave sufficient thought to contemporary American politics, wishes women would start massive families right out of college, stay home for a good while, then return to the workforce in middle age. This would make it harder for women to, among other things, write op-eds for the Times. Furthermore, David Brooks will never, ever, be pregnant, and his days of impregnating others may well also be over, although I don't know him personally, so who knows. The point is that the "central concern," the "facts in the womb," are only concerns or factual to those who are pro-life, who believe that a potential person is a person. I've written on this before and have nothing new to say other than that it's worth repeating.

But most importantly: part of Brooks's "sensible solution" is that abortion should be allowed only "with parental consent for minors." This concept is one I will never, ever, understand. Shouldn't the default be a 15-year-old not having a baby? Sure, there are women who regret their abortions (dealt with quite well here), but how many 22-year-olds are wishing, at any given moment, they were at home with their 9-year-olds and not at school or work? Who is legally or morally responsible for the child a girl's parents demanded she give birth to? If the girl is old enough to know better and all that, why'd she need parental approval? If the parents are held responsible, what if they wanted the girl to abort--should girls need parental permission to give birth? Why should a girl be forced to give birth and then give a child up for adoption when a woman, under the same circumstances could legally and with David Brooks's approval avoid that situation entirely?


Rachel said...

I have met David Brooks personally and he is quite dashing, he also told me if we had gone to Chicago concurrently we'd have been friends, which I kind of doubt.
I am very torn on how to feel about men's opinion on the abortion debate, on some level men are legally responsible for the children they create whether they want them or not so they should have some say, afterall, involved Dads are better than the uninvolved, on the other hand because a man will never be pregnant it is easy for him to demand woman carry unwanted pregnancies to term, since he will never be in the situation of being pregnant against his will.
I want men to care about their lovers and children, but I find myself less interested in their opinions on abortion, because it will never really affect them.
Alternatively my BIL argues that women shouldn't give opinions on war, sice they cannot be drafted. It's a tough balance but I hate the idea of men presuming to tell me how to handle my life.

Anonymous said...

To answer Rachel, men should get a say in abortion decisions. They should get to make up to 49% of the decision.

The problem with your BIL's analogy is that women should be drafted as well, and it can happen that they will be (and women certainly serve in the military, and at the moment, men aren't drafted either). But there are no men out there being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.