Monday, January 23, 2006

Whose child is this?

The High Court has ruled that unless the child decides otherwise, the mother of an underage girl has no right to be informed if she is being advised on having an abortion. The judge claimed that giving parents this right may cause the child to "make a decision that she later regrets or seek the assistance of an unofficial abortionist". So just what rights do parents have over the welfare of their children, when something as fundamental as this has been removed from their hands? Who, in any case, will deal with the emotional fallout from an abortion? No doubt, it will be left to parents to pick up the pieces if things go wrong. On the one hand, Tony Blair blames parents for the rise of the yob culture, even going to the extent of jailing them for their child's truancy. On the other hand, court rulings like these imply that parents must cede their rights to the State. What is going on here?
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Anonymous Natalie said...

After all, isn't it the young girl's own body? She'll be affected the most if she has an abortion, and NOT her parents.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Bel said...

Natalie, this is true. However, the fact remains that she is underage, and still under the care of her parents until she attains her majority. Just imagine the situation where a 14 year old girl who lives at home gets an abortion without her parents' knowledge. What if there are complications, eg emotional or physical trauma? What is she supposed to do when she gets home, and there are no professional people at hand to help? Weep into her pillow at night, while her parents watch television downstairs, unaware of what is going on? Parents are there to help. That is their duty. This trend of stripping parents of their responsibilities will in the long run lead to harm. Do you not think that this loosens the bonds of family?

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Natalie said...

I agree with you - the scenario you're describing is horrible. I think that all girls should be strongly advised to tell their parents, because it would make things so much easier. However, if a girl chooses not to tell her family, perhaps the family bonds were not so strong to begin with? Many young girls would probably not get any help whatsoever from their parents, and therfore thy choose not to tell them. Besides, I think that the hospotal or wherever she had the abortion done should offer free psychological support and professional help both before and after the abortion. I believe this has to be a priority.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Biodun said...

However, if a girl chooses not to tell her family, perhaps the family bonds were not so strong to begin with?

My sentiments exactly, Natalie.

Bel I'm afraid I have to disagree with you completely.

The example you give of "what happens if there are complications" is a moot one.

If there are complications, then the family will be there to help. The fact that she told them about the abortion beforehand or not should not affect this in anyway.

Forcing a 14 or 15 year old to tell her family about her abortion may be the difference between life and death for a girl e.g What if it's one of those girls from strict muslim homes, where they believe in virginity before marriage and honour killings and such?

Knowing about her abortion may even break the bonds with her family. You're assuming that all families are close to begin with. They aren't.

7:32 PM  

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