The Supreme Court acted foolishly this week in failing to correct a terribly flawed law dealing with minors and abortion.
With only one dissenting vote, the high court on Monday upheld the right of minors to obtain abortions without notifying their parents. The state of Louisiana challenged a series of Supreme Court rulings dating to 1979 whereby if a minor is found mature enough to make her own decision there does not need to be parental notification.Abortion, except in rare cases, is morally wrong. It should also be legally wrong. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court ruled more than two decades ago that it isn't. Adults therefore have the right to determine whether or not to have an abortion. But that same right should not be extended to minors.
Minors need parental consent for a multitude of things such as getting a driver's license and taking certain medications at school. And yet, legally, it is OK for them to have an abortion without notifying their parents.
That doesn't make sense. But then neither do other recent court rulings from around the nation. Because abortion is such a political hot potato, there has been an unfortunate trend toward liberalizing laws relating to it and its close cousins, such as obtaining birth-control devices without parental notification, permitting some types of assisted suicide, etc.
The Supreme Court's action follows a decision in August by the California Supreme Court that overturned a state law requiring parental or court consent for minors to get an abortion. By a 4-3 vote the California court ruled the state law, passed in 1987 (it was never enforced as it was immediately challenged in the courts), was unconstitutional.
The ruling by the California court and the Supreme Court's failure to act are two more examples of the ongoing devaluation of the sanctity of life. Abortion should only be an option in rare cases such as protecting the life of the mother. However, court actions and the easy access and abortion-on-demand position of the Clinton administration have relegated abortion to the category of a birth-control device for many.
To give minors the opportunity to also use abortion as a birth-control procedure, because they're afraid of what their parents might say about their pregnancy, is nonsensical.
Once again families have been put in a potentially adversarial relationship by a faulty court action. And once again it will be up to families to keep the lines of communication open so that a dubious law doesn't cause a lot of heartache for all.