Parental abortion consent rule should not be easy to elude - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Parental abortion consent rule should not be easy to elude

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Posted: Sunday, September 7, 2003 1:36 am | Updated: 1:27 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Thanks to a recent court ruling, it has become harder to shut parents out of one of the most important decisions a daughter might ever make — whether to have an abortion.

In a 3-0 ruling filed by the Arizona Court of Appeals on Aug. 19, Judge Ann A. Scott Timmer wrote that a minor seeking to exclude her parents from an abortion decision must provide “clear and convincing evidence” that she is mature and well-informed enough to do so.

According to the Arizona Capitol Times, which reported the story in its Aug. 29 issue, “clear and convincing evidence” is a much tougher standard than the previously employed “preponderance of the evidence.” A law dictionary describes it as “proof which results in reasonable certainty of the truth of the ultimate fact in controversy.”

The more stringent standard is necessary, Timmer wrote, because in such a case it is the minor who controls the presentation of evidence, with few opportunities to show that she is not able to act in an informed, mature manner. Further, the consequences of an abortion are permanent.

Pro-abortion factions are unlikely to be happy with this, viewing it as some sort of threat to “a woman’s right to choose.” It is nothing of the sort.

That’s because it’s not women we’re talking about here. It’s girls — in some cases, little more than mere children. As any adult with half a brain knows, teens are often the last persons who should be making decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

And there’s no doubt abortion is exactly that, with not merely physical but also emotional consequences. All the court is saying here is that if a girl clearly understands those consequences, and has the precocious maturity to weigh them, she may proceed — but she has to prove those things.

If she can’t, it’s apparent someone will have to help her consider matters. Legally and morally, that’s what parents are for.

Whether parents decisions’ comport with the pro-abortion agenda is immaterial. It’s a personal matter — and if the girl is too immature to make a rational choice, a family one.

The Court of Appeals has struck a commendable blow for common sense and the legal rights of mothers and fathers to decide what is best for their young, sometimes confused, offspring.

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