Monday, January 25, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 78

Tice on Statistics

Parsons on Cars

Patel on Fanaticism

Letters to the Editor

About the Cougar

Staff Editorial


John Harp                Ed De La Garza 
Michelle Norton     Jim Parsons 

Doctor, doctor, give me the news

If state Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth, R-Burleson, has her way, Texas minors seeking an abortion would have to gain their parents' permission before going through with the procedure.

At first glance, this seems like an intrusion on a woman's right to decide what to do with her body. One must realize, however, that these aren't women that will be affected by the bill.

House Bill 342 (should it pass) would affect girls -- people who are still under the legal responsibility of their parents.

It could, however, fall into trouble should the girl not have a legal guardian to grant permission. In this case, the state would be responsible for assigning a case-worker whose sole responsibility would be to grant or deny permission to go along with the abortion.

If a girl is concerned about her parents' violent behavior or domestic abuse, she has the opportunity to file for an appeal.

What the bill does is put responsibility for an abortion on the doctor. The doctor must notify a legal guardian or face a Class A misdemeanor charge.

Let's be perfectly clear. A woman, under the law, has the right to decide whether or not she wants to keep her baby. Putting all arguments concerning where life begins aside, the law is still the law. Choice exists, as long as you are an adult.

A minor cannot purchase cigarettes (legally). A minor cannot purchase alcohol (legally). A minor, while living in her parents' home, must abide by her parents' rules.

Is it too much to think that, in a case such as having an abortion, a minor's parents should be notified? There are other avenues to take even if these parents are absolute monsters.

This bill does in no way prohibit a minor's right to have an abortion. All it does is make certain the parents know that their daughter is going through with a surgical procedure. This isn't too much to ask.

One should worry, however, about the doctor's responsibility about telling the girl's parents or legal guardians. The doctor is not having the abortion. This seems to take some of the flak off of the girl. It is no longer her problem, but rather the doctor's, and later -- quite possibly -- the state's.

So long as this bill keeps in mind that an abortion is still a woman's, or as in this case, a minor's decision, it is a good idea. Just don't start encroaching into the actual right. 


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