Parental Permission Needed for Tanning Beds, Not Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 20, 2011   |   12:43PM   |   Hartford, CT

Lawmakers in Connecticut have their priorities when it comes to allowing parents to raise their minor daughters and legislators have decided that protecting teen girls from tanning beds is more important than protecting them from abortions.

Sen. Michael McLachlan, a Republican from Danbury, noticed a glaring irony in a bill requiring teen girls to receive permission from their parents to use tanning beds. He pointed to the fact that there is no state law requiring young teenagers to get permission from their parents for an abortion.

Chris Powell of the Journal Intelligencer newspaper reported on what happened next:  Democratic lawmakers discarded the entire tanning bed bill rather than allow McLachlan to add an amendment including abortions.

“For while state law also requires parental permission for the tattooing and body piercing of minors, state law treats abortion differently,” he writes. “Under Connecticut law minors can obtain abortions on their own, advised only by abortion providers themselves, even though the procedure may involve general anesthesia and carries far more risk than tattooing or tanning.”

“So McLachlan prepared to amend the tanning bill to require parental consent for abortions for minors as well. Rather than risk a long and uncomfortable debate, the Senate’s Democratic leadership discarded the bill entirely, and McLachlan got the blame,” he explained.

Derek Slap a spokesman for the Senate Democratic caucus called McLachlan’s amendment “political grandstanding” but Powell said that is “just a disparaging way of describing what is done by all legislators, without regard to party: raising issues of importance to themselves and their constituents. In the Public Health Committee at the start of the legislative session McLachlan had proposed legislation for parental consent for abortions for minors, but it got nowhere. Raising it by amendment became the only way to advance it.”

In Connecticut, parental consent on abortion would be helpful given how teenager girls have been sexually abused and criminals have used abortions to cover up their crimes.

Planned Parenthood in Connecticut came under fire in August 2007. Police investigating a kidnapping and sexual abuse case in Connecticut confirmed Planned Parenthood abortion business did an abortion on a 15 year-old girl who is the victim. The news was the latest in a string of cases across the country where abortions have been used to cover up cases of sexual abuse.

Authorities say the unnamed girl ran away from home last June to live with 41 year-old Adam Gault, who has plead guilty to a variety of charges in connection with the kidnapping and alleged sexual abuse. After getting her pregnant, Gault reportedly took the girl to a Planned Parenthood in West Hartford where she had an abortion.

Powell commented on the case as a reason for parental notification.

“There is a compelling question here, and Connecticut debated it when the law about abortions for minors was enacted. It is a question quite distinct from the question of abortion itself,” he said. “That is, the law legitimizes a horrible conflict of interest: It deprives minors of any true guardians at a moment of the most profound risk to their physical and mental health, giving guardianship to their surgeons, even though, by definition, the pregnancy to be terminated is the result of statutory rape or worse, and even though the failure to notify parents, guardians, or law enforcement may conceal the most abusive felonies and facilitate still more abuse.”

“The General Assembly legislated unrestricted abortion for minors largely because most legislators found the subject so sensitive and ugly that they could handle it only by covering it up, by ensuring that no questions would ever be asked officially. Not even legislating a bypass around parental consent, allowing pregnant minors to go to a court to obtain permission for abortion when, for some reason, it was thought necessary to prevent parents from exercising their responsibility would satisfy the advocates of absolute abortion rights for minors, advocates of abortion as the highest social good. They denounce as oppressors of women even those who, while supporting abortion rights in all other respects, think that the law should seek accountability for the rape of children,” Powell added.

He concluded: “Politically feared and politically correct as such denunciation is, it is not argument, and the hysteria directed at McLachlan over his attempt to amend the tanning bill suggests that its perpetrators know it. If they weren’t so afraid of argument they could have called the tanning bill and let McLachlan offer his amendment and then have voted it down without comment before passing the bill itself, and Connecticut could have gone on thinking that it protects children — at least when protecting them is politically correct.”

According to July 2008 figures from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the former Planned Parenthood research arm, Connecticut abortions rose from 12,110 in 2005 to 14,112 in 2006. In 2007, the number rose again to 14,534, an increase of 422 more abortions.

Michael C. Culhane, executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference, has said a lack of parental consent is one reason why the figure is so high.

“There’s no parental notification requirement for abortion in Connecticut,” Culhane said. “If your daughter needs an aspirin in school, she has to have parental permission. But she can go out and have an abortion. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?”