Roe v. Wade, one of the most famous supreme court cases in history, gave every woman the right to have an abortion. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that abortion was a fundamental right under the Constitution (“Roe v. Wade” 1). However, it is still necessary that abortion be regulated in order to assure that this power is not abused by careless teenagers seeking countless abortions. In many states, there are problems in determining what restrictions they should put in place concerning this topic. In 2002, there were 1.29 million abortions in the United States, 19% of these by teenage women (“State Facts About Abortion: Michigan” 1). These numbers are dangerously high and something must be done to help these women make the correct decisions about their pregnancies.
Since Roe v. Wade, many cases have been decided regarding the rights of minors concerning abortion. In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992), the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of 1892 was questioned. Parental consent was one of five major issues in this case in which the Supreme Court ultimately voted to uphold Roe v. Wade (“Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey” 1).
In the state of Michigan, one parent must consent to their daughter’s decision to have an abortion if she is under the age of 18. The option of judicial bypass is also available to the pregnant teen (“Parental Consent and Notification of Abortion” 1). This allows the minor to get an order from a judge which allows her to have an abortion without consent from her parents. It is only granted in cases where the minor would be emotionally, physically, or sexually abused if her parents are notified or if the minor is well informed about her pregnancy option and does not need a parent to be involved because it would not be in her best interest (“Judicial Bypass” 1). Allowing for judicial bypass is very reasonable and makes the abortion laws in Michigan even more fair to the women who wish to have abortions. For this reason, the current Michigan laws on parental notification and consent of abortion should not be changed or altered to allow the teens more or less freedom.
There are many dangers in this world, and abortion is definitely no exception to this. There are numerous psychological effects which can arise after an abortion has taken place. If the parents of minors were not previously informed of their child’s abortion and the teen is feeling these effects, they are less inclined to seek help. Depression is one of many of these very serious conditions. According to a study of 1,884 women conducted by the Medical Science Monitor, women with abortions have a significantly higher risk of experiencing clinical depression than women who give birth (“Study Links Depression with Abortion” 1). The guilt of an abortion can cause women to experience insomnia, eating disorders, and also alcohol or drug abuse. Another mental effect which could occur is post abortion syndrome. Many years after their abortion, women may feel a sense of guilt, anger, crying, and hatred towards men and others (“Abortion Hurts Women: The Mental Dangers” 1). Perhaps the most detrimental effect which can occur is suicide thoughts and attempts. The suicide rate for women with abortions is six times higher than for women without abortions (1). A survey by Dr. David Reardon found that out of all the women who had abortions which he interviewed, 60% had thoughts of suicide, 28% had attempted suicide, and 18% had attempted suicide on several occasions (1). Many argue that these situations are rare, however Dr. Warren Hern, a well-known abortionist, feels that “(In) medical practice, there are few surgical procedures given so little attention and so underrated in its potential hazards as abortion” (“Complications You Can Have with Your Abortion” 1). These conditions are no joke and they must be reported to a doctor. Yet, if a teenage girl has had an abortion in secrecy, she would most likely not seek help. If older and stronger women have difficulty dealing with these problems even after they seek help, how are girls under the age of 18 expected to handle them without aid and extra support from their family? They simply would not be able to reverse their guilty feelings and this could sadly result in suicides or worsened conditions. It remains obvious that parents must be notified of their child’s decision to terminate her pregnancy so that they can help her deal with the repercussions of the procedure.
Not only can an abortion affect you mentally, it also can have several serious physical side effects. Most commonly, some women may contract infections from the procedure (“Complications You Can Have with Your Abortion” 1). Also, there can be injuries to the lining of the uterus after a dilation and curettage procedure which is frequently used. There is also a risk of bladder or bowel injury, future miscarriages, and other effects during future pregnancies (1). Some of these effects include, frequent bleeding in the first three months of future pregnancy, a child with a low birth weight, and a less likely chance of having a normal delivery. In some cases, a condition called DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulopathy) can develop after an abortion. This causes a woman to bleed uncontrollably and can be very life threatening. Studies have shown that complications during abortion increase with younger teenage women (1). Also, it is possible that pregnancy may be healthier than abortion for women between the ages of 15 and 17. A study in the Journal of National Cancer Institute interestingly found that between women who had been pregnant at least once and women who had undergone an abortion, the women who had induced an abortion were 50% more at risk to develop breast cancer than other women (“Learn About Abortion Procedures and Abortion Risks” 1). Many believe that there may be a greater link between breast cancer and abortion and it is being further investigated and studied.
Teens are usually more likely to delay having their abortion until they are after 15 weeks pregnant, because they are trying to obtain money and a way to get an abortion without their parents’ knowledge, which is when medical risks that occur from abortions are significantly higher (“Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States” 1). Those who are under the age of 18 must have help from their parents and families if any complications arise. If any of these developments are hidden and ignored, more serious and life-threatening illnesses could develop and their situation could worsen. No minor should have to go through that experience alone without support from those who love them.
Since parents bring their children into this world, it is obvious that parents are given certain rights to which they are entitled. There is almost nothing that a child can do without their parent’s consent. For example, when a minor walks into a tattoo or piercing parlor, a parent must be present with them. In that situation, they are minimally altering their body and still it is mandatory that a parent consent to the small procedure. In hospitals, all operations and treatments must be cleared with the legal guardian of a minor, no matter how big or small they may be. If all these other situations, which are small compared to making the decision to take the life of your child, require parents to help make the decision for their children, then abortion should have to be consented to as well. Allowing a child to decide on her own whether or not she would like to have an abortion is dangerous as they may make an uneducated decision. Unless she would be abused in some way if her parents were informed, in which case she would be granted judicial bypass, then she should have the support of her parents to help her with this life-changing decision. Senatorial candidate John Pinkerton from California notes that “...in public schools...parents must give consent before their child can be treated with so much as an aspirin. Most voters agree that it is outrageous to allow a child to undergo any surgical procedure, let
alone an invasive, irreversible procedure such as an abortion, without parental notification” (“Parental consent/notification for teen abortions: The pros and cons of compulsory parentalinvolvement” 1). These parents cannot be denied their parental power to be involved in the important aspects of their child’s life.
Michigan laws allow for parents to be involved in their children’s lives since they must consent and make sure that minors are still entitled to have control to decide what they wish to do with their bodies. Abortion procedures carry tremendous risks that can take the life of any woman who wishes to terminate her pregnancy. As with any other disease or illness that one may have, support is always an important aspect of recovery. It is unfair for woman under the age of 18 to be denied that support because they make the decision to not inform their parents of their condition. Hiding their complications would be a very juvenile thing to do, yet these girls are not yet adults and still need guidance from a parent or someone who genuinely cares for them. After looking into death certificates and autopsies, investigative reporter Kevin Sherlock searched the causes of death and found that there are around 30-40% more abortion-related deaths than reported (“Abortion Hurts Women: The Physical Dangers” 1). This meaning that when women have complications from abortions, they may only report them 60-70% of the time. Aside from the physically life-threatening problems that could occur, the mental and psychological problems can take a great toll on any person’s life. If that person is a minor, the effects could be much worse if gone undetected and without help. Most importantly, if parental consent is needed for much smaller procedures, then it should undoubtedly be needed for much larger procedures with greater risks such as abortion. Therefore, no changes or reforms should be made on the Michigan state laws on abortion, and the United States should federally adopt the fair laws which Michigan has put into place. The United States should be able to give equal rights to a woman who wishes to alter her body, and at the same time should provide rights for the parents to be in involved in the lives of the women who are under 18 years of age. Once this goal is accomplished, less abortions would take place and a countless amount of future lives can ultimately be saved.
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“Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (Nos. 91-744, 91-902).” Cornell Law School. Online. Internet. <http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0505_0833_ZS.html> 18 February 2007.
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