May 24, 2005

Another abortion post! Yay!

Amanda Panda has a post on Parental Notification laws that just has so much good stuff you really should just go read it. I'm going to talk about one little thing she says, and reference our earlier discussions on abortion.

The other important thing to note about Casey v. Planned Parenthood is that the court found that most women already consult their husbands over abortion decisions and when they didn't, they had a very good reason, such as the fear that they would get beat down for daring to make their own decisions. The relationship between teenage girls and their parents is pretty much parallel in this sense--most teenage girls who are pregnant already consult their parents on the decision and those who don't have a good reason, like fear of abuse.

Yeah, it's the issue of trusting women again. As best I can recall, I've only ever seen two arguments limiting abortion: (a) It's a person, and its life is sacrosanct, from conception; and (b) If women are allowed abortions of type X, they might make the wrong decision. I'm going to talk about (b) here, which I think covers both opposition to specific abortion procedures (DX) and the decision to abort or not being made by certain women (teenagers).

Implicit in the (b) argument is the assumption that a significant number (whatever this means) of women will actually make the wrong decision. Most of us don't worry about people driving giant hunks of steel around at ridiculous speeds six times faster than anyone can run, because relatively few people are harmed in accidents involving those fast-moving hunks of steel; but we do worry about people driving those hunks around while intoxicated, because there are a lot of accidents in those sorts of situations. In other words, we trust most people to be safe drivers, but we don't trust people who drive too fast or drive drunk to not harm other people.

Now, I'll grant in this post that some women might make the 'wrong' decision about an abortion (though I honestly don't know what that means). In setting limits on abortion rights, you're claiming that 'too many' women will make the wrong decision: that women cannot be trusted to make good moral decisions when they have reproductive autonomy. You can make such a claim, of course -- but I do not see how this could be justified unless by sexist assumptions or theological arguments like (a).

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