May 10, 2005

Via Lyn, I see that HB1212 is the bill du jour today, and it's another in a long line of bills this session whose purpose is to define morality for the public. The Dallas Morning News objected to its divisive intent in a recent editorial:

The House State Affairs Committee voted Monday to require a pregnant teenager to secure her parents' consent before getting an abortion. This newspaper supports requiring teens to notify their parents before having an abortion, but requiring a parent's consent goes too far. Whether or not any of us likes it, desperate teens will get abortions, and some will go straight to the back alley if they must get their parents' permission.

What's more, the legislation would make it a crime for anyone to coerce a child into an abortion. If this provision passes, parents could get hauled into court for strongly urging their child to end a pregnancy. How can the state demand that parents be responsible for the choice, and then penalize them if they make a particular choice? That, in effect, coerces teens to bear unwanted children.

That's the key question here. I certainly don't want to think of any circumstances under which a teenaged Olivia may find herself undesirably pregnant, but if it does happen then the responsibility for what happens next will fall on Tiffany and me. If we have to exercise that responsibility, then we deserve to have all viable options available to us. Clearly, we'll take Olivia's feelings into account as we decide. But as with anything else involving a minor child, what she wants and what her parents think is best for her may not coincide. Should we have to risk jail for that? Why do Phil King and a disturbing number of his legislative colleagues think they know better?

Kos diarist Moiv notes that the charge for "coercing" a minor into having an abortion would be a felony. If so, I hope Sen. John Whitmire remains true to his pledge so far to kill any bill that calls for locking up more people without ponying up the money to pay for the increased prison utilization. Otherwise, I hope the Senate has enough on its plate to pass on this bad idea. Don't let that stop you from contacting your elected minion and telling him or her to oppose HB1212, though.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 10, 2005 to That's our Lege | TrackBack

Wouldn't surprise me at all if that was the whole intent.

Parent has to consent, but if a parent consents then it's "coercive", and a felony.

I don't think the right wing is terribly smart, but they're sneaky and devious in a truly evil manner.

Posted by: Buhallin on May 11, 2005 12:59 PM