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The medical field can be rough waters for patients to navigate, especially when dealing with an issue as controversial as abortion. What amount of power are we, as a society giving our politicians and our doctors? We allow people in power to make these important decisions for us. Patients should have a choice and they need to voice their opinions about their medical care. This is especially important concerning the care of minors. Parents need to be involved concerning their child's care. However, when it comes to children and abortions, how much involvement are parents given?

The first issue to look at is abortion itself. Abortion has been and will be a constant sore spot, mostly for morality v. freedom of choice reasons. However, morality aside, is the availability of an abortion damaging to today's youth? Should we, as a people, ban abortions or continue to allow women (and young girls) to terminate their pregnancies?

The debate between pro-life and pro-choice addresses many ideas. Some people believe that all abortions should be outlawed, some believe that abortions should be legal only in extreme cases (i.e. rape, incest, or threat to the mother's life), and still others believe that any abortion should be legal, including partial-birth (Ponnuru, 2006). Regardless of how adults feel on this issue, most young girls are not given all of the information that we are. If children do not know all of the facts surrounding abortions, they are not able to make the best decision for themselves.

The important factor in this issue is that the American people are the ones who, in essence, get to decide the abortion laws. As voters, we get the opportunity to make our opinions, beliefs, and feelings on the issues known. It is also our right to vote and appoint leaders who have the same feelings and beliefs that we do. It is our duty, as Americans, to choose whether or not citizens should have the right "to choose."

The abortion debate has been a part of politics for a number of years and has gained a spot on almost every politician's agenda. Though abortion has been at the forefront of political debates, the government has not been consistent on where it stands in regards to the issue. At times, it seems as if the pro-life movement has gained strength in their goal to abolish abortions, and then other times pro-choice activists are getting their way (Ponnuru, 2006). Where abortion will end up depends on the American people.

The polls had always registered ambivalence about abortion. If asked whether abortion should be "between a woman and her doctor," a majority would say yes. But if given three options on abortion policy - legal under all circumstances, legal only in the cases of rape, incest, or threats to the mother's life, and illegal under all circumstances - a majority would also choose the two restrictive policies. Large majorities of the public favored mandatory waiting periods, parental-consent laws, spousal-notification requirements, and prohibitions on abortion after the first three months of pregnancy (Ponnuru, 2006, para. 9).

Since the issue of abortion will never be resolved in such a way to please everyone, we must take a different mindset on the issue. As parents, we need to make an effort to get involved in the care and well-being of our children. How much access do American children have to abortions and what rights do parents' have when it comes to the health of their offspring?

Requiring physicians to notify parents 48 hours prior to providing any services to minors is a sore spot with most and has created many waves ranging from the American public all the way to the President of the United States. The arguments that are concerning parental notifications are: will parents help their children make the right choices and get involved with their children in a positive manner; will we have children seeking underground, back door services from people who are not certified to perform these procedures, or would some consider even crossing state lines to obtain these services. In Massachusetts, one of the laws that are currently in place requires that a minor secure permission from at least one of their parents before an abortion is to take place (Barid, 2006). Whereas, other states notify the parents of a minor at least forty-eight hours prior to the abortion (Klitsch, 1991). This is a small step in the parental rights movement, but now we are faced with the medical aspects of abortion, and the well-being of our children. These laws do not have any clauses that allow doctors to perform abortion procedures when the life of the patient is at risk or when the pregnancy is due to incest (Klitsch, 1991).

Studies have shown that states that have parental consent laws have shown a reduction in the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea and sexual activity has also decreased by 20 percent among Hispanic teenagers and by 12 percent among their white counterparts (Laws and effects, 2004). Activist groups fear that if we take away the rights of our teens then we are forcing them to fear the places from which they find safe and receive help. The American Medical Association surveyed 950 girls between the ages of 12 and 17 and found that most would curtail or cease using the health facilities if the knew their parents were to be contacted (Study: Girls tie, 2002). Another study shows that Minnesota, Missouri, and Indiana had a decrease between four and nine percent in minors' birthrates



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