I am a staunch supporter of a woman’s right to choose. But when I read this article in my local paper yesterday, I found myself questioning where I draw the lines on WHO chooses in the case of a minor who does not want an abortion.
This particular article does not concern a minor, but the point is salient anyway. This is the story of Katelyn Kampf, a 19 year old pregnant woman whose parents tied her up and drove her to New York with the intention of forcing her to have an abortion against her will. The parents were arrested, thankfully, and Katelyn retained her right to choose – to have the baby. Amen.
I admit I’m not up to speed on the laws regarding minors, however. What if Katelyn were 15? If her parents are legally responsible for her, are they also legally responsible for her offspring? And if so, what right do they have to choose not to raise their grandchild until the mother reaches the age of 18?
Equally disturbing is this story of an unnamed pregnant 16 year old girl forced to drink turpentine in an attempt by her 44, 28, and 26 year old cousins to induce an abortion. It is not clear whether or not the girl wanted the abortion, although there is suspicion that the pregnancy resulted from a sexual assault and that the pregnancy might exacerbate a health condition the girl has.
Generally speaking, I believe the choice belongs to the pregnant girl / woman. Not the father (a subject of another post altogether) or the girl’s parents, cousins, or other caregivers. But I do find myself struggling with this one just a bit. More to come as I turn over the stones on this one.