Is parent involvement always the best?

Posted: Monday, April 20, 2009

A few years ago, I read a newspaper story about a woman whose daughter had died while undergoing an illegal abortion. The mother was of course heartsick. She knew her daughter would have hated admitting to her that she was pregnant, and believed that was why her daughter had tried to rid herself of the pregnancy.

Before her daughter was killed, the mother had believed parents should be involved in their children's medical decisions, but after her daughter was killed in a dangerous abortion attempt, the mother realized that it would have been so much better had her daughter been able to have had a safe, court-approved abortion. She became an ardent supporter of giving young women the ability to have an abortion without parental consent, because this would have saved her daughter's life.

After reading this, I wondered what I would have done if I had become pregnant while I was in high school. My parents and I had always planned that I would graduate from school and start a career before I got married and had children. If I had told them when I was in high school that I was pregnant, they would have been so disappointed in me. So if I were too ashamed to tell them, what would my options have been? Probably the same as the woman's daughter. And I would have probably made the same choice she made for the same reasons.

How sure are we that our daughters will tell us they are pregnant if they believe we will be disappointed in them? If they do not want us to know they are pregnant, what might they believe they were forced to do? Would they resort to an unsafe illegal abortion or some other self-induced abortion procedure? Let our daughters have the option of court-approved abortions. Why isn't this our best choice?

Ruth Wood


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