clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Abortion decision should involve parents - not judge

The U.S. Supreme Court and some lower courts have been criticized recently for taking on responsibilities that rightfully belong elsewhere. Some law experts have observed that, instead of simply interpreting the law, they have expanded their role to include legislating or making laws.

But it gets worse.In refusing to hear an appeal of Supreme Court abortion-rights rulings dating back nearly 20 years, the current justices have decided to support the court's position that judges know better than parents what's best for their children.

It seems a passel of Supreme Court rulings beginning in 1979 have interpreted the Constitution to mean that parents have no say in whether their daughters who have not reached the age of majority should be able to get an abortion without the parents' consent.

This essentially means that a 16-year-old girl who discovers she is pregnant can get an abortion without even telling her parents as long as some judge, who probably never has seen this child before, decides she is mature enough to make the choice on her own.

Apparently not satisfied with handing over to a judge the role that should by all common sense belong only to a parent, the Supreme Court went even further.

This series of rulings also requires lower-court judges to allow an abortion even for a minor child who can't demonstrate that she is "mature" as long as a judge concludes that ending the pregnancy would be in the child's "best interest" - no matter what her parents think, believe or want for their daughter.

Since it seems the judicial experts believe parents are expendable, perhaps they would like to take over some of the other duties of parenthood. Would the judge also like to pay the child's expenses? Not only for the abortion but also for the professional counseling she will probably need to deal with the aftermath.

Even though someone sitting on the bench decided she was "mature" enough to make such a spiritually and emotionally wrenching decision or that ending her pregnancy was "in her best interest," it will be the parents who will face the effects of the actual deed.

Since presumably the child's parents have guided her through her early years, dealt with the trials of adolescence and provided religious training, it seems odd that a judge can step in at probably the most crucial point of a young life and overrule those people who know her best and love her most.

The state of Louisiana asked the high court to hear its appeal of those rulings. The court refused to consider what Louisiana had to say. Only one justice, Antonin Scalia, an outspoken opponent of abortion rights in general, wanted to hear the appeal. It required the assent of three additional justices for the case to be heard.

The early rulings and the refusal to reconsider mean a minor child can go to a judge when her parents believe an abortion would not be the right thing for her to do. The court's action undermines the rights and responsibilities of parents and the role of the home. It is evidence to a young child that her parents' authority can be overruled by the state.

The decision to end a pregnancy is one that will affect a woman's life forever. It cannot be undone. There is no way to know how damaging it will be, and when the mother-to-be is a child, the potential for unending trauma is enormous. Parents' counsel isn't infallible, but it's the best counsel available to a pregnant child.

Unless it can be proven that parents are damaging their children by abusing and/or neglecting them or that minors have broken the law, the courts should stay out of the homes of Americans and out of the lives of minor children.