An Unnecessary Law

Article excerpt

Byline: The Register-Guard

Abortion opponents believe it's only a matter of time - and perhaps one more Supreme Court vacancy during the Bush administration - before the 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in the United States will be overturned. In the meantime, anti-abortion groups will continue their largely successful efforts to enact incremental restrictions that limit access to abortions or make them harder to obtain.

Oregon voters will see one such effort on the November ballot. The Parental Involvement and Support Act would require 48-hour written notice to parents before a girl younger than 18 could obtain an abortion.

If the issue seems vaguely familiar, it's because Oregonians narrowly rejected a similar measure when it appeared on the ballot 16 years ago. Now the parental notification bandwagon has rolled back into the state, and supporters are optimistic about its chances - with good reason.

Arguing against allowing parents to help their minor daughters deal with the emotional trauma of pregnancy and abortion doesn't make sense to most people. Supporters of notification insist that if parents must give consent before their children can receive an aspirin at a school clinic, then parents should be informed before their daughters undergo an invasive and irreversible surgical procedure such as an abortion. Even among abortion rights advocates, support for parental notification is strong.

That's why abortion opponents have been able to win passage of parental notification/permission laws in 44 states. Oregon remains among the half-dozen holdouts without any restrictions.

As reasonable as parental notification may sound, the reality often differs dramatically from the rhetoric. The experts who oppose parental notification laws are not extremists. They include the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians. …