Friday, January 26, 2007

Fritchey's folly

Kristen McQueary of the Daily Southtown deserves great credit for unmasking a phony parental notification bill in the General Assembly.

Instead of other media accounts that are suggesting a bill by state Rep. John Fritchey merely fine tunes Illinois' soon-to-be-revived 1995 law that requires minors to advise their parents if they are having an abortion, McQueary correctly notes that the bill effectively codifies the status quo that allows young girls to have the medical procedure without their parents knowing about it.

State Rep. John Fritchey's recent introduction of House Bill 317 is no compromise. If approved, it will do little to change existing Illinois law that allows girls 17 and younger to get an abortion without notifying an adult.

If you think that's OK, fine. But if you've been led to believe Fritchey's bill merely tweaks the 1995 law, think again.
McQueary actually read the bill and notes gaping exceptions that not only add "clergy" as an alternative to notifying the parents, but also a "counseling" option that allows a youngster to be counseled on her choice rather than telling her parents.
Simply put, an adult needs to be notified -- someone with a deeper investment in these girls than a counselor or a doctor. Fritchey's bill should not allow a "counseling" bypass.
Fritchey's bill represents an extremist pro-choice viewpoint that only about 20 percent of Illinois residents hold—that a 14-year-old girl can essentially have an abortion at will without her parents knowing about it.

The 1995 law already is a lenient version of parental notification. It provides automatic exceptions to the notice provision if a girl is a victim of rape or incest and provides further opportunities to bypass the notification on other grounds. It is one of the weakest parental notification laws in the country. More than 40 states have parental notification laws, including every state surrounding Illinois.

Fritchey's bill would lock parental notification out of Illinois and lock parents out of one of the most traumatic experiences in their daughter's life.

McQueary's dissection of the bill is noteworthy because most members of the media fall for Planned Parenthood's spin on parental notification. Planned Parenthood opposes all parental notification measures and knows it is an extremist position in every public opinion poll. But it is able to successfully throw out red herings on the issue that the news media nearly always falls for because of its unfamiliarity with the nuances of abortion law/policy and its overwhelming sympathy to the pro-choice position.

Finally, what irks me most about the parental notification debate is the "slippery slope" crapola dished by the pro-choice community.

The fact is, we are not talking about restricting access to abortion for adult women. We are talking about restricting access for girls. There's a big, big difference.
Implied in that statement is that even within the pro-choice population, the majority of people believe parental notification laws make sense and the Fritchey/Planned Parenthood approach does not.

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