Tuesday, April 19, 2011

MN Republicans hard at work to increase rate of overdoses, abortions for teens

More anti-choice bills this week coming from the Minnesota State Legislature. That's 12 and counting, necessary because you know, jobs. None will pass, of course (I actually wonder if most of them would come up at all if the state didn't have a veto-ready democratic governor at their disposal). But you really have to question the sanity of people that support things like this:

A GOP proposal in Minnesota would require parental consent before minors could seek treatment for pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases or drug and alcohol abuse, undoing a 40-year-old law that lets minors see doctors without a parent's knowledge.

Such a change would set Minnesota apart from most other states, according to one group that tracks sexual and reproductive health issues. And opponents warn the measure could prevent some young people from seeking care because they're embarrassed or afraid to talk to their parents about their situation.

Naturally, they have an "exception" for cases of abuse so long as it gets the okay of a judge, because what you really want to do when you are a teenager being sexually abused by a family member on a regular basis is go through a bunch of legal bullshit so they can judge you to figure out if you are being honest or are just a lying whore. But perhaps I'm just being over-dramatic, I'm sure those kids will be just fine in the magical fairy land that Republicans inhabit where bad things only happen to bad people therefore real victims would never fall through the cracks and be fucked over by the legal system.

Even setting aside sexual abuse, this is just a bad idea, straight up. There are kids that will do anything to keep things from their parents. I remember once back when I was a young'un, and a couple of my girlfriends attended a concert downtown (I was not allowed to go). Long story short, they missed their ride home, and ended up stranded downtown. They were young, they were from the suburbs, and it was way, way past their bedtime at this point. They were essentially an assault/robbery/kidnapping report just waiting to be written. The first girl called her mom for a ride, who told her it was basically her problem. So no help there. She then begged the second girl to call her mother for a ride. The girl refused. Would not do it (apparently had told her mother she was sleeping over at a friends house, not at a concert downtown). Would rather spend the night wandering around or sleeping in a part of the city that neither was familiar with or felt safe in. There was nothing the first girl could do to convince her otherwise.*

And, although this seemed like a really big deal at the time, it is really nothing compared to issues like reproductive health or substance abuse. Point being, if your kid doesn't want to share these things with you, there is no power on earth that will make them. And the point they will go to to avoid that, to the point of putting themselves in danger, cannot be ignored. So when it comes to issues that can cause real danger to them, it's time to drop the PollyAnna act and deal with the reality, because I promise you, no matter how horrible it is to have your ideal world-view shattered, it is nothing compared to having real harm befall your child.

If your kid isn't telling you about the need for reproductive or mental health services, there is probably a reason why. And it probably has nothing to do with your kid, or evil liberals, or over-reaching government or any other boogeyman you can conjure up to absolve your own complicity in the manner. No, if your kid is too scared to come to you with these sorts of things, there is only one person to point the finger at, and that person is you.

Made the mistake of reading some of the comments on that pioneer press article, and it really only confirmed my suspicions. A lot of pseudo-righteous grandstanding from the usual suspects, talking about how parents have to "put the fear of god" in their kids and they will magically stop "having sex like rabbits" or that anyone that doesn't support these sorts of parental consent laws have "failed as a parent" and that maybe these "punishments" of disease or suicide will "scare" the kids straight. The sad irony is that the kids of the folks like this, the people that honestly feel like they own their kids as if they were fucking property (the rights of teenagers really are the last civil rights battle, aren't they? Yet no one touches it) and rule their families with a draconian fist, are the kids that will be hurt the most by laws like this. In short, people don't support these laws because they are bad parents and feel their kids might need to go under their parental radar. The concern is that *you* are a bad parent, and *your* kid will probably need to go under the parental radar, because you are an idiot that would disown or abuse your own kids because they've sufficiently failed at absorbing the "fear of god" in your rose-color-glasses-wearing eyes.

And your kids know it. And that is why these things are necessary, because we care little about you and your precious, unattainable ideals - we care about your kids, and who they can turn to when your sanctimony, and your cluelessness and your apparently eager desire to trade your kid's life away in order to preserve your precious, self-righteous posturing starts to have serious consequences in their lives.

I'm sure you don't see it that way. But that's the reality, folks.

*You know what they did? They ended up calling my mom. Who went and picked them up, because of course she went and picked them up. Because unlike some of these other fools, my mom is awesome, and has enough wisdom to know that sometimes kids fuck up, and sometimes they need outside help. Didn't stop her from basically calling them stupid on the ride home though.

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