Monday, May 16, 2011

Schools and abortion

Others have already posted about the Sunday Star-Times' hatchet job on schools and "secret" abortions, but I think its worth highlighting anyway. The thrust of the article was that it is wrong for schools to enables their student's choices in this way, and that they should inform the parents. This is wrong for two reasons. First, as the statistics at the bottom of the article show, the vast majority of schoolkids having abortions are legally adults, sexually speaking. They're considered to be legally competent to decide who they fuck. Why shouldn't they also be legally competent to decide to have a private medical procedure? It is, bluntly, none of their parents fucking business anymore. Whether they choose to tell them or not is up to them, and no-one else.

What about those who aren't legal adults? Its still none of their parents fucking business, for the simple reason that pregnancy is a fundamental matter of personal autonomy, and no-one other than the person involved has a right to make those decisions for them. As I pointed out back in 2004, when Judith Collins was banging her conservative drum about this, the enormous coercive power of parents over their children means parents forcing kids to have kids. It means treating young girls in bad circumstances as brood mares. That is a morally repugnant position, and one that children need to be protected from. The current law, which allows privacy, does that.

If parents are concerned that their children may have an abortion without telling them, then perhaps they should ask themselves why their kids don't trust them, and work on fixing that relationship, rather than demanding a law change to create morally repulsive proprietorial rights over other people's bodies.