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Many on the left oppose laws that prohibit a minor from undergoing an abortion without the consent of the parent. Are such laws proper?

asked Oct 28 '12 at 23:41

JK%20Gregg's gravatar image

JK Gregg ♦
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edited Oct 29 '12 at 09:51

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦
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The answer is no.

Mandating that a woman (or female minor) remain pregnant is a violation of her right to her own body.

Forcing the continuation of a pregnancy is only slightly less immoral than rape. As I have said in the past: The rapist dictates what goes into a woman's womb -- the anti-abortionist dictates what stays in there.

Surely it is not the right of the parent to force their own child to bear a child. Therefore it is the right of the child to abort her own pregnancy without parental consent.

A child has the moral right to abort a pregnancy against her parents' choice, for the same reason that a parent does not have the right to rape a child.

answered Nov 04 '12 at 13:37

John%20Paquette's gravatar image

John Paquette ♦
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edited Nov 29 '12 at 20:01

Ok, somebody didn't like my answer, but I see no comments, nor an alternative answer. Hmm.

(Nov 27 '12 at 22:05) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

What type of comment are you looking for?

(Nov 28 '12 at 01:15) anthony anthony's gravatar image

I'd like a comment stating what was not liked about my answer.

(Nov 28 '12 at 09:35) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

Mainly it was unconvincing.

Parts seemed to be illogical (especially the third and fifth paragraph), and parts seemed to be contradictory to Objectivism (especially the fourth paragraph).

(Nov 28 '12 at 16:55) anthony anthony's gravatar image

John: Great answer! You summarized it well in your comment - "The rapist dictates what goes into a woman's womb -- the anti-abortionist dictates what stays in there"

(Nov 29 '12 at 19:47) dagny dagny's gravatar image

I have edited the answer a bit. I was wrong to fully equate the immorality of rape with the immorality of mandating pregnancy. What do you think now, Anthony?

(Nov 29 '12 at 19:58) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

I still don't see the connection. Would mandatory parental consent before a child could have a non-medically-necessary hysterectomy be "only slightly less immoral than rape"?

"The rapist dictates what goes into a woman's womb" isn't even correct. It is a definition based on non-essentials.

(Nov 29 '12 at 20:11) anthony anthony's gravatar image

Regarding the hysterectomy versus abortion: a hysterectomy removes the potential to have children. An abortion prevents an impending birth. Parents certainly can forcibly prevent their daughter from destroying her potential to have children. But they cannot force her to have a child.

It's not that a child has full right to alter her body in any way. It's that she has the right to remove an invasion of her body. Parents don't have the right to force her to suffer the invasion.

(Nov 29 '12 at 23:44) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

Regarding "The rapist dictates what goes into a woman's womb", it's not a definition. It's a statement of what's essentially wrong with rape. Unwanted insertion how the rapist violates rights. The refusal to permit wanted removal is how the anti-abortionist violates rights.

These are facts, not definitions.

The rapist makes a woman compromised. The anti-abortionist keeps a woman compromised. If rape is wrong, so is forcing a pregnancy to continue.

(Nov 29 '12 at 23:54) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

"The rapist dictates what goes into a woman's womb" is not a statement of what's essentially wrong with rape. I'm surprised I have to spell it out. The vagina and the womb are two different body parts.

(Nov 30 '12 at 07:12) anthony anthony's gravatar image

"It's not that a child has full right to alter her body in any way. It's that she has the right to remove an invasion of her body."

Now we're getting closer to something convincing. But it rests on the fact that a fetus is properly characterized as an invasion, in every single instance where a child claims to want an abortion.

"Parents don't have the right to force her to suffer the invasion."

Do parents have the right to force a child to remove an invasion?

(Nov 30 '12 at 07:22) anthony anthony's gravatar image

"Do parents have the right to force a child to remove an invasion?"

I think yes. For a child to have a child would create another baby for her parents to take care of. Since this baby would become its grandparents' responsibility, the grandparents should have consent over the birth.

(Dec 02 '12 at 00:41) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

Regarding wombs and vaginas, I'll just change my language: The rapist dictates what goes into a woman. The anti-abortionist dictates what stays inside her. Talk of wombs versus vaginas is irrelevant. We're talking about the invasion of a female, and the refusal to allow the reversal of an invasion.

An unwanted embryo is a parasite. It might be the result of consensual sex, rather than rape, but if a female doesn't want to bring it to term, its presence is effectively an invasion of her body. That anyone else might want her to give birth is irrelevant.

(Dec 02 '12 at 00:47) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

I have to stand by my original assessment. Your explanations make no sense.

(Dec 02 '12 at 16:27) anthony anthony's gravatar image

Where is the lack of sense? Do you think it is proper for parents to use their own children as breeding cows?

(Dec 02 '12 at 18:47) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

No, I do not think it is proper for parents to use their own children as breeding cows. Got any other straw-men for me?

It is proper for parents to refuse to consent to their child being subjected to medical procedures which they believe would not be in the best interest of their child.

On the other hand, it is proper for the government to intervene in cases where a parent's withholding of consent constitutes "demonstrable physical abuse".

Whether or not withholding of consent to an abortion necessarily constitutes such abuse, is not something I believe I have the expertise to say.

(Dec 04 '12 at 21:24) anthony anthony's gravatar image

On the other hand, for the parents to force a child to have an abortion, not for any medical reason indicating that doing so is in the best interest of the child, but in fact solely for the reason that the parents don't want to take care of a grandchild for a few years, does constitute demonstrable physical abuse.

In fact, I feel like I must be misreading your comment above ("I think yes"), which I read as sanctioning such abuse.

You want to talk about rape? Performing an abortion on a child against her will and for no bona fide medical purpose is literally rape.

(Dec 04 '12 at 21:45) anthony anthony's gravatar image

I think I could agree with you on this, but there are many valuable things which parents ARE indeed allowed to do to a child against his/her will, such as vaccinations, tonsil removal (assuming that's valuable), or surgery.

(I'm not including circumcision, here.)

I'm not convinced that to keep a child is validly a pregnant child's choice. Certainly if the pregnant child is anesthetized, an abortion is no more of a rape than any other surgical procedure.

An abortion is medically valuable. It prevents many health complications, including birth.

(Dec 08 '12 at 14:09) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

The standard here is not what the pregnant child wants. The standard is, what constitutes abuse of, and what constitutes care for, the pregnant child.

(Dec 08 '12 at 14:11) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

An abortion can be medically valuable. Whether any particular one is depends on the facts and circumstances. But your comment didn't reference that. You said "Since this baby would become its grandparents' responsibility, the grandparents should have consent over the birth." The stated purpose for the abortion was not to do what was best for the child, medically or otherwise. The stated purpose was to save the grandparents from having to pay child support.

(Dec 08 '12 at 14:32) anthony anthony's gravatar image

You say "I'm not convinced that to keep a child is validly a pregnant child's choice." You say "The standard here is not what the pregnant child wants."

You say this a few days after saying that a child should be free from "a violation of her right to her own body".

I can't make sense of it. Are you arguing that the child has a right to her own body, or not?

(Dec 08 '12 at 14:35) anthony anthony's gravatar image

"there are many valuable things which parents ARE indeed allowed to do to a child against his/her will, such as vaccinations, tonsil removal (assuming that's valuable), or surgery"

And these are also things that typically require a parents consent, at least in the absence of a court order, government mandate (e.g. some vaccinations), or medical emergency.

What I don't understand is the double-standard. If the child wants an abortion, the parents can't say no. But if the child doesn't want an abortion, the parents can force her to have one anyway.

(Dec 08 '12 at 15:24) anthony anthony's gravatar image

A child's rights over his/her body are not complete. If that were the case, then restraining a child who wishes to run across a busy street would be morally reprehensible.

A child has a right to be protected, and a right not to be abused. Children don't always know right from wrong, and so often a parent must do something to the child against the child's will. I'm not saying that parents have cart blanche permission to do whatever they want, but they DO have legal and moral power to override a child's will in many situations.

The question here is what are those situations.

(Dec 08 '12 at 15:27) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

I didn't like your answer because it didn't address that question, other than to say that "surely" this is not one of those situations where the parents have the right to override a child's will (only in even more strong language, comparing the overriding of a child's will in this situation to rape).

But then you say it is one of those situations, if the child decides the other way. Are you saying that abortion is always the right decision? Is that an objectively proven fact?

(Dec 08 '12 at 15:44) anthony anthony's gravatar image

By the way, when you say "Since this baby would become its grandparents' responsibility, the grandparents should have consent over the birth." Does that apply to all four grandparents, or only the two maternal grandparents?

(Dec 08 '12 at 15:49) anthony anthony's gravatar image

I'm simply saying that to force a child to have a child is certainly abuse, whereas forcing a child not to have a child is not certainly abuse. "Not certainly" -- not "certainly not".

To force an abortion (under anesthetic) is certainly much less invasive than to force a full-term pregnancy. Both are invasive. The question is, should either invasion by the parents be permitted, and on what grounds.

(Dec 08 '12 at 15:55) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

I am not convinced that drugging a child, killing her fetus, and removing the now-dead fetus from the child's womb, is certainly much less invasive than refusing to allow anyone to do so. Especially not without stating what stage of pregnancy she is in.

(Dec 08 '12 at 16:05) anthony anthony's gravatar image

When I say grandparents, I'm talking about the parents of the pregnant child. Let's not complicate this whole situation by talking about the father of the unborn child (or his parents).

The point is, a child is pregnant, and she has parents who are responsible for her. They are the ones who have to make the right decision, and bear responsibility for it.

(Dec 08 '12 at 16:07) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

Speaking from the point of view of a parent, and not as a matter of proper law (on which I am still unsure), forcing either upon a child without the consent of the child is horrendous, and should only be reserved for cases where there is a clear medical indication. I don't have the medical knowledge to say, but maybe in the case of a younger child the risk of pregnancy would be too high to allow the child to continue the pregnancy. On the flip side, I wouldn't want my daughter to get an abortion without first talking with us about the decision, and then selecting with us the right doctor.

(Dec 08 '12 at 16:22) anthony anthony's gravatar image

"The point is, a child is pregnant, and she has parents who are responsible for her. They are the ones who have to make the right decision, and bear responsibility for it."

Unless their decision is to not have the abortion. Right?

Anyway, I disagree with you that the parents should make the decision. In most cases the parents should (and I'm speaking here in terms of morally, not legally) guide the child to help her make the decision for herself. It is only in extreme cases where a parent should force the decision upon the child.

(Dec 08 '12 at 16:32) anthony anthony's gravatar image
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Asked: Oct 28 '12 at 23:41

Seen: 1,195 times

Last updated: Dec 08 '12 at 16:49