What Parents Don't Know Can Hurt Them and Their Children
by Djana Milton
This past August 4, Lemuel and Julia Redd took their daughter Julianna shopping, but they bypassed the local mall and drove 240 miles from Provo, Utah to Grand Junction, Colorado. Julianna's parents never planned to take her shopping. Instead, it was a last-ditch attempt to keep her from getting married the next day.
Julianna still got married, and her parents now face second-degree felony kidnapping charges.
As odd as this all sounds, it's even stranger that our legal system seeks to punish the Redds while it remains perfectly legal for unrelated adults to take minors across state lines for invasive medical procedures, such as abortions, without parental knowledge or consent.
Noted German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children." If the liberal obstruction in the Senate that led to the legislative failure of the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA) is any indication, America has work to do before it can pass the Bonhoeffer's test.
As written, the bill - which passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives during the 109th Congress - would make it a federal crime to take a minor across state lines in order to circumvent state abortion laws as well as require parental notification. These are unresolved problems that breed unaccountability and uncertainty. It also creates a potentially dangerous situation due to the fact that many young girls who get pregnant also say they are victims of abuse. Statistics compiled from government and non-profit organizations and posted on the web site of the group Darkness to Light note:
- Adult men fathered almost 50 percent of babies born to girls between the ages of 15 and 17;
- Of teen pregnancies in which the age of the father is known, approximately seven in ten fathers are 20 years old or older;
- One survey of 535 teen mothers found that approximately two-thirds reported to have previously been molested or the victim of rape or attempted rape. The abused teens also noted engaging in sex earlier and that they are their children were more likely to become victims of further abuse and
- A survey of 445 teen mothers found 60 percent of them said sexual encounters were forced upon them.
Additionally, according to an October 2004 special report of the Medical Science Monitor, a survey of American women seeking abortions found 64 percent said they "felt pressured by others" to do so.
Considering the likelihood that a teen entering a pregnancy center could be a victim of abuse, it is surprising that it is not already a requirement to notify parents - or at least a social worker - of impending procedures. The abortion industry and the powerful special interests supporting it, however, are steadfastly opposed to notification.
As a result, parents who are responsible for protecting their children from so many things become virtually powerless against sexual predators.
Opposition to parental notification within the abortion industry seems tied to their financial motivations. In the 2000-2001 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood declared $774.1 million in assets. That's big business! Faced with the choice of protecting the vulnerable or their income, the bottom line seems to prevail with groups of this sort.
Some extreme detractors of notification may ask, "Wouldn't notification further endanger girls who are the victims of incest?" What better way to end the victimization than to report the crime to someone who can stop it? Facilitating an abortion treats only the unfortunate aftereffect. Most minors would still have few options but to return to the environment where the problem originated. The only way truly to alleviate such a crisis is to deal with the perpetrators, which is possible through notification.
Although the apparent failure of abortion clinics to protect minors is disconcerting, it's precisely this arena in which parents can make a difference. Any marginally responsible parent would take decisive action to combat further exploitation and ensure a daughter's abuser was brought to justice. This defines the difference between parents, whose investment in their daughter is heartfelt, and an abortion provider or other adult. The kind of world we leave for our children matters to no one else as much as it does to parents - nor is the burden of responsibility nearly as great.
French philosopher Voltaire wrote, "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." It is absurd to suggest that those who sow the seeds of deceit between parent and child are operating out of altruism.
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Djana Milton is a member of the national advisory council of the black leadership network Project 21. Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org.
Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints
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