Is HB2605 So Bad?

House Bill 2605 is based on a relatively simple concept: if a minor daughter wishes to have an abortion, her parents have to be notified.  From the bill's summary:

Requires person to notify parent before person performs abortion on minor or ward, with specific exceptions. Establishes administrative process for minor or ward to obtain abortion without notice to parent. Requires preservation of anonymity of minor or ward seeking abortion without notice. Establishes civil action for parent wrongfully denied notification.

Protecting a woman's right to choose is a central plank in the Democratic platform.  But what about a parent's right to know?  Republicans have been nipping at the edges of Roe for years (the clear purpose behind the other House-backed abortion bill passed yesterday, HB2020, which would create penalties for injuring a fetus), and this may rightly be regarded as another attempt.  But do Democrats risk looking like ideologues standing between parents and 15-year-olds? 

The vote went along party lines, with one Republican, Pendleton's Bob Jenson, joining the Democrats, so apparently they're not worried.  The bill may not even get a hearing in the Senate.  Democrats are slowly beginning to shift their stance on abortion--in part, some say, to preserve Roe.  Is this one of those times when Democrats should give ground?


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    Yes, 2605 really is so bad.

    Here's the reality- while we can all want healthy family communication, not all families are the same. As someone said yesterday, "There's a big difference between Ward Cleaver and Ward Weaver." The last thing we need is to risk the health and safety of young women who can face severe beatings - or worse.

    One young Kansan woman, just months from her 18th birthday, was so worried about dissapointing her parents that she sought an illegal abortion and died as a result. Others have tried to self abort by drinking fifths of alcohol and taking dangerous illegal drugs to terminate the pregnancy.

    It's not just NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon and PP who oppose parental notification. The American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics oppose parental involvement laws as well- and I don't think people think of them as ideologues.

    Government cannot mandate healthy family communication. Laws requiring parental notice or consent actually harm the young women they purport to protect by increasing illegal and self induced abortion, family violence, suicide later abortions and unwanted childbirth. Often young women who do not involve a parent come from families where government-mandated consent would have devastating effects.

    As to the Democrats reconsidering their principled stance on choice, retreat would be a terrible mistake. It's wrong politically and bad for women and the country.

    It wasn't really that long ago that the same conversations were going on in the Republican party. After Clinton's victory in 1992, outgoing Republican party chair Rich Bond openly called for the Rs to moderate their abortion position. Phyllis Schaffley's response: "We don't take advice from losers."

    If the Dems abandon choice, which I don't believe they will, then God help them.

  • Yoram (unverified)

    Yes; it's really bad.

    The last thing we need to do is create hurdles to choice for pregnant teens.

    As a side note, pro-choice folks have a couple new facts on their side.

    Abortions have gone up under anti-choice Bush; and making abortion legal under Roe may have been a third of the decrease in crime rates in the nineties (see Freakonomics).

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    I'd say it's not so good for the young woman who's been raped her father/step-father.

  • Bored and want to fight (unverified)

    Why can't my 15 daughter get her ears pierced without my permission but she can have an abortion.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    It's not as though the issues that arise in the war over abortion have not been examined and debated among pro-choice supporters. Keeping, or recovering in many cases, actual access to abortion, as opposed to an abstract right to abortion, is no simple matter. Anti-abortion efforts are uniformly designed to limit access and move toward an end to abortion, whether de jure or de facto.

    It's understandable that parents would want input into their children's healthcare, but it's clear that abortion is a special case and that limiting a woman's right to it [even if she is under 18] creates real problems.

    Compromising in such cases will not protect Roe v. Wade. Instead, it will lead to Roe becoming moot. Abortion will become a right that cannot be exercised.

  • Chris Andersen (unverified)

    The bill is bad, but the way we talk about it is essential. A large majority of people, myself included, would say that yes, parents SHOULD know when their children are going to have a medical procedure like an abortion. Millions of reasonable parents are going to reflexively side with this simply because that's part of being a good parent.

    But we have to educate people on the other half of the story, the story of the young women who are already traumatized enough by the situation they find themselves in without having the state put an additional burden on them that they simply can't meet. Charlie Burr above does a good job of addressing this ("Ward Cleaver vs. Ward Weaver"). We have to personalize the opposition to this bill, not just allow ourselves to be painted as eager to help children get abortions without their parents consent.

  • Rorovitz (unverified)


    Is there really a comparison between ears pierced and an abortion?

    Somebody correct me, but isnt' the ears/abortion argument a perfect example of a red herring? An argument that adds nothing but throw the debate off track.

    How about this: young women being raped by family members usually doesn't result in earrings. Wearing earrings doesn't often result in being thrown out of families, support structures and religious institutions. Wearing earrings for women under the age of 14 doesn't increase the liklihood of death from complications.

    Why don't you offer a rationale around how this piece of legislation answers the concerns raised by the pediatricians, the AMA and the story that Charlie raised above?

    Oh, you can't? I guess that's why you used that crappy earring argument.

  • David Wright (unverified)

    Yes, this is one of those times when Democrats should give ground. But the bill should be tweaked a bit, too.

    First off, this is not a parental consent issue, it's a notification issue. There's no provision in the bill that would explicitly allow a parent to prevent the abortion. However, the bill requires the notified parent to provide ID to the doctor as proof of notification before the abortion may proceed, but there's no mention of any penalty to the parent for refusing to provide such ID. Theoretically, then, a parent could refuse to provide ID and thus prevent the doctor from legally performing the abortion. There should be explicit wording in the bill to close this loophole.

    The concerns that Charlie raised about dangerous family environments are certainly valid; this bill addresses that by providing an alternative notification mechanism that goes through an administrative law judge.

    SECTION 4. (1)(a) Within three days after receiving an application of a pregnant minor or ward for an abortion without notice to a parent, the Department of Human Services shall request assignment of an administrative law judge from the Office of Administrative Hearings to consider the application. (b) On behalf of the department, the administrative law judge shall issue a final order authorizing the abortion if the administrative law judge determines that: (A) The applicant is mature and capable of giving informed consent to the abortion; or (B) Obtaining an abortion without the notice required by section 2 of this 2005 Act is in the best interest of the applicant.

    Key points there being that if the minor is capable of giving informed consent, or if withholding parental notification is in the best interests of the minor, then a judge can okay the procedure without parental notification.

    And I would argue that precisely because we're talking about minors, there should be more "hurdles" (or rather, "speed bumps") to obtaining an abortion. It's a life-altering decision that should not be taken lightly. It's reasonable to at least attempt to involve a responsible adult (be it the parent/guardian, or a judge) in discussing the situation with the girl.

    It's for that reason that, politically, it would be unwise for Democrats to hold on so tightly to "pro-choice" that they appear to be "anti-reason".

    I happen to be a pro-choice, anti-gun-control Republican -- within reason. I see a lot of parallels between the absolutist pro-choice faction, and the absolutist anti-gun-control faction. The arguments against any restrictions on abortions just sound an awful lot like the arguments against any restrictions on gun purchases to me. I think in both cases, the extreme positions are unreasonable.

    For what it's worth...

  • Bored and want to fight (unverified)

    Earrings are not a big deal that's the point. Abortions are. Abortions are huge and life altering and probably the most important decision that will ever be made by a woman. A 15 yr. old doesn't have the ablity to make that decision on her own. How often is a minor's abortion due to rape by a parent or gradian? You are makign a law to affect all children based on a one in a thousand sceniro. What about all how kids that have decent homes but are teenagers and blow things out of portions and do something they will regret for the rest of their lives because they didn't talk it through with someone.

  • Yoram (unverified)

    "It's reasonable to at least attempt to involve a responsible adult (be it the parent/guardian, or a judge) in discussing the situation with the girl."

    Um, the abortion provider would be a responsible, knowledgable adult.

  • Bored and want to fight (unverified)

    That's a good point. Do you think that's enough?

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    One problem with your earring example is that a young woman would not risk death seeking an illegal ear piercing. Illegal abortions kill women- and this bill would add more red tape for young women seeking abortion, and would risk driving them into terribly dangerous situations.

    As far as the maturity women level of women, just yesterday the BBC reported on a Florida woman denied access to abortion because "she wasn't mature enough to make that decision." If she's not mature to make this decision, what's the logic in forcing her to raise a family?

  • panchopdx (unverified)

    The hurdles for waiving parental notice don't seem unreasonable. Most people believe (even liberals!) that parents have an important interest in knowing whether their minor children are acting irresponsibly (i.e., minors having unprotected sex in their teens). However, the decision to keep or abort should always rest with the pregnant person (if competent to decide). So if the parental interest in receiving notice may conflict with the minor's exercise of the right of choice, we need proceedure to protect that right.

    Under this bill, an administrative law judge holds a closed hearing to figure out if the minor is mature and capable of giving consent OR whether having an abortion without notice is in the best interests of the applicant.

    Fairly loose standard, but I don't see anything providing court appointed counsel to applicants.

    Since the exercise of an important right (life altering) is at stake in this process, counsel should be present. It is fairly intimidating for a pregnant teen to face a government hearings process to keep her abortion decision confidential, but if she has to figure out how to hire counsel to do it, then the process may bar a large percentage of people from exercising their right to choose.

  • LT (unverified)

    It DOES matter HOW a bill is worded and not just the theme of the bill.

    In 1985, Wisconsin passed a bill which was 9 pages of details. It included a parental notification measure which was more about an adult advocate going with the girl to notify her parents in person than about paperwork and civil action. It also dealt with such topics as sex education and determining paternity in cases of teen pregnancy so that both the families of the father and mother would be responsible for the care of the child after birth (called "grandparent financial responsibility").

    I support that bill--best piece of legislation I have ever read on the subject. I had a Wisconsin pen pal in 1985 which is how I was able to read the bill.

    I did not support SB 1126 in 1995 and I do not support HB 2605 now because I believe the intent is really punitive. Here is part of the summary which bothers me:

    Establishes civil action for parent wrongfully denied notification.

    SB 1126 got Republican no votes in the Senate from tort reform advocates, and that is one of the issues which caused House defeat. As one state rep. said "And while we are trying to pass tort reform, Section 5 of this bill creates a new cause of action". (Yes, it was a very memorable speech and I was in the gallery when it was given).

    For the last decade, whenever I have been asked if I support parental notification legislation, I answered "I support that Wisconsin bill, but not anything like SB 1126 from 1995". This boggles the mind of those whose attitude is "it is the principle of the thing".

    No, it is about actual wording of an actual bill.

    No, this is not about the "Democratic approach to abortion" because I am someone who has been registered in both parties and in no party, and I know plenty of pro-choice Republicans.

    Let's have an intelligent debate on the wording of the bill.

    The episode of the show HOUSE on Ch. 12 last night strikes me as a better contribution to the debate (hospitalized teen turns out to be pregnant, and it is left to the teen to tell her parents that she had gotten pregnant--and she told her parents after procedures incl. the abortion had taken place) than the question of pierced ears.

  • iggi (unverified)

    "minors having unprotected sex in their teens"

    no, what you mean is "minors having sex in their teens", which is what it comes down to. condoms break, the pill sometimes fails...yeah, i know, sometimes people get horny and just go for it, regardless. hell, adults do that and there's only 3 years seperating a 15 year old from law-given adulthood.

    we need less bureaucracy regarding this, not more. teens have, and always will have, sex. S-E-X. what we need to do is give them the tools to prepare - education and access to birth control. not ridiculous abstinence classes that teach anecdotes that reinforce male/female stereotypes (akin to girls like pink and boys like blue).

    if you're worried about your kid having unprotected sex, getting pregnant, and getting an abortion, then talk to them about sex. then take him/her to Planned Parenthood and get them some birth control -- just in case.

    if we were really serious about this, then school nurses would be handing out birth control...if they can give a kid Ritalin, then why not a condom?

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    My first thread stated that the young woman who died from an illegal abortion was from Kansas. Her name was Becky Bell, and she was actually from Indiana.

    Here's her story, taken from

    Becky Bell lived with her parents, Karen and Bill, and brother in a small town near Indianapolis, IN. Becky was a junior in high school in 1988 when she became pregnant. She sought an abortion at a women's health clinic but learned that, under Indiana law, she first had to obtain the consent of one parent. Afraid to disappoint her parents, Becky had an illegal abortion and died from complications one week later. This is Karen Bell's story.

    Becky and I were very close. She was an easy child, gentle and innocent. I would worry sometimes about my son, Billy, but never about Becky. She loved horses, music, school and life itself. When Becky was 16, she began dating a friend of Billy's. She was crazy about him. He was a rebel and completely different from her, but that's who she loved.

    Soon after Becky turned 17, I noticed that she seemed quieter than usual. One evening she asked to go to a party on the south side of town. I said, 'Becky, I don't want you to go to the south side, it's not safe there.' I had a feeling that something wasn't right, but my son said, 'My God, Mom, let Becky go. You protect her too much, and she's been sad lately.'

    I let her go.

    I was laying awake in bed waiting for her to come home. At 12:45 a.m., I heard her trying to open the door. She was crying, and said, 'Mom, it was a horrible party. I feel like I've got the flu like Dad.' Beck never lied; I never doubted what she said. I told her to go to bed and she would feel better in the morning.

    But she did not. After school on Monday, she still felt sick. By Wednesday she had a fever of 104 and a strange cough. I told her we were going to the doctor. She turned white. She said, 'Mom, oh Mom, please, oh please, I don't want to go. Just give me some aspirin; I'll be okay, please, please.' She was nearly hysterical, so I respected her wishes. Later I realized that she feared the doctor would discover the abortion and tell us about it. And later he said that he would have.

    On Friday, September 16, she said she would go to the doctor. She was so weak that my husband and I had to carry her to the car. The doctor sent us immediately to the hospital. We put her in the backseat and she asked me to sit next to her. I held her close.

    The nuns and nurses at St. Vincent Hospital, where we have taken her for everything, kept asking Beck, 'What have you done to yourself?' I heard the nurses say her veins had collapsed. They put oxygen on her, but Becky pulled the mask off. I leaned down and said, 'Honey, tell Mom, tell me, honey.' She said, 'Mom, Dad, I love you, forgive me.' And that was it. Her heart stopped.

    They said that her lungs had literally come apart from infection, and they hooked her up to life support. We called our family to come to the hospital. Billy was away at college and couldn't make it in time. Late that night, with grandma, grandpa, and other relatives gathered, the doctor said, 'We don't know if we can save the baby.' And I thought, 'The baby? My God, Becky was pregnant.' At 11:29 that night, the doctors said that there was no hope and took her off life support.

    The coroner performed an autopsy and called us. 'Your Rebecca Suzanne died from an illegal, botched abortion; dirty instruments had been used.' And Bill said 'No, no, not Beck.' I said, 'No, no, no, not my Becky. Oh my God, not Beck.'

    Bill and I talked to Becky's friends and learned that she had sought an abortion. They told Becky that they would help her but that because she was a minor, she had to get a parent's permission to comply with Indiana law. If she couldn't talk to a parent, she could seek permission from a judge. Becky told the counselor, 'If I can't tell my mom and dad, how can I tell the judge?' They also told Becky that she could get a safe and legal abortion in Kentucky without telling her parents. But there was no way that Becky could get to Kentucky without us suspecting something.

    People ask me what I would have done if Becky had told me the truth. I would have been mad, and I would have said, 'Becky, you just ruined your life. What are the neighbors going to think?' That would have been my first reaction because that's who I am. But then I would have asked her, 'Beck, do you want to get married? Have a baby? Have an abortion? What do you want? What can you live with, hon?' We would have worked it out. But I never got the chance.

  • David Wright (unverified)

    Charlie, being denied access to an abortion does not equal being forced to raise a family. Obviously a woman who has an unwanted child has the option of giving the child up for adoption.

    I'm not sure if the Florida case you're talking about was the 13-year-old girl in state custody who had initially been denied by the state, but if so the courts ultimately ruled that she was competent to make the decision and she did proceed with the abortion yesterday. That was the only recent abortion-related story from Florida that I could find, anyhow (plug "Florida abortion" into your search engine of choice, you'll see tons of links to this story).

  • justin (unverified)

    I second "bored's" point.

    The fact that an abortion is such a big deal is exactly why parents should be involved in the process.

    You are sacrificing the right of a lot of good parents to raise their children in order to prevent a few bad parents from hurting their children.

    And I don't think that is good policy. There is a compromise to be reached, and HB 2605 is that compromise.

  • Edward (unverified)

    We need a law that says just the opposite: all women, regardless of age, have a right to an abortion and they do not have to get any type of consent from anybody else about choices involving their own bodies.

    If the forces of conservatism don't get their notification law, they may very well try and get it through litigation.

    "What's that?", you ask. Think about this: minors under 18 generally can't give consent to anything. Your 17 year old still needs you to sign a note to ride the bus on a school field trip. Surgery? That also requires some form of parental consent. Hospitals normally get the parents to sign something just to make sure that somebody with the legal capacity to enter into contract will be on the financial hook for it.

    Any medical practitioners who provide abortions to underage girls without some form of parental consent runs the risk that when complications set in, they'll get sued for malpractice by the parents. (because they performed an unauthorized surgery).

    Of course, that situation doesn't normally happen. Mostly because the women seeking abortions want them desperately and those who can't tell their parents never will. But the disaster litigation scenario only needs to happen once to have a chilling effect that severely limits the availability of abortions. (see the above comment about the Florida woman, for example).

    I am so sick of liberals trying to become more like conservatives. This is a bunch of * ****. If it was about men's ability to make decisions about their bodies, this would never ever ever be an issue. Why does the state need to make decisions limiting women's right to make choices about their own bodies? It doesn't.

  • Marty Wilde (unverified)

    Yes, it's that bad. I'm a juvenile prosecutor. I believe in personal accountability for one's actions as perhaps the central element of character. However, also know the evil things some parents do to their children that we never hear about. If the bill passes, the right will feel all warm and fuzzy about supporting families, but will have no interest in following up with social services to ensure that the child is not abused.

    Further, in my experience as a juvenile prosecutor, most of the kids in these situations come from houses where the parents are simply not present at all. How can a child possibly find a parent to serve with certified mail in a timely manner when the parent hasn't been in the child's life for years? Let's not compound one tragedy with another by requiring parental notification.

  • panchopdx (unverified)


    While I appreciate your viewpoint on this issue, I don't think it is very realistic. Parents do have an interest in knowing about the dangerous activities of their minor children.

    If you don't believe me, just ask a few parents. They'll tell you they are very interested.

    However, the parents' interest must give way in order to protect a pregnant teen's right of choice. But as long as the process doesn't significantly burden their exercise of the right, it is a worthwhile compromise.

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    Maybe Jeb Bush could adopt the child, since the whole Schavio adoption thing didn't work out.

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    This is a bad bill. The teens who have good communication with their parents will talk with them without legislation mandating that they do so. Those who don't communicate or are for some reason afraid to reveal their pregnancies will not be forced to communicate because a statute says so. They will find a way to get an abortion without their parents' knowledge, which, as the posts above explain, often results in tragedy. And you are really kidding yourselves if you think a scared and pregnant teenage girl is going to seek permission from an ALJ to get an abortion. It's far more likely that she will seek a coat hanger.

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    Hi folks:

    On the larger issue of choice, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon is also working to oppose out of the mainstream judges and the weakening of the filibuster.

    We're having an event tomorrow night to highlight the importance of defeating the so-called "nuclear option" and what people can do to take action. It should be fun- and all are invited!

    What: Special Screening of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington When: Thursday, May 5, 6:30 pm Where: Laurelhurst Theater, 2735 NE Burnside, Portland Cost: Cheap! $5 - or free with a new NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon membership

    Please RSVP to Rebecca at 503.223.4510, x16 to purchase your tickets in advance. (Sorry, this event is limited to those 21 and older.)

    We hope you can make it to this special screening of the classic film and learn more about the importance of protecting minority rights! Also, while you're at it, be sure to contact Senator Gordon Smith's office if you haven't already. Either by phone or by email.

    Portland: 503-326-3386 Washington, D.C.: 202-224-3753 Eugene: 541-465-6750 Pendleton: 541-278-1129 Medford: 541-608-9102 Bend: 541-318-1298

    Hope to see you there! And many thanks to everyone who's already contacted Gordon Smith.

  • K. Sudbeck (unverified)

    This is the issue that will have sending MONEY to Sen Smith, today. Because of the radical NARAL or NOW pro-abortionists stance on access to abortions for children. I will be calling and sending MONEY to Susan Morgan. I will be expressing my will concerning this issue. Female or Male children do not reach the age of majority for pretty much all private purposes, until 21. But, as we are seeing, this is defined by the state. In civil law, the full age is defined as 25. By law, these are the ages that we as a nation have deemed the necessary ages to make adequate judgements and decisions. So, NARAL's and NOW's positions are nothing but a power struggle, irresponsible and unfathomable. Needlessly, putting underage children in harm's way, undercutting the parent's rights and authority, to provide the adult guidance until they reach the age of majority. As we say in naval aviation: Fight's On, with the fangs out.

  • Yoram (unverified)

    Again, Bush, Smith, Morgan and the right's policies = more abortions.

    That's the record.

    "When Bush first took office in 2000, the abortion rate was at a 24-year low, after declining 17.4 percent in the 1990s.

    With a pro-life president in office, common sense would expect the rate to bottom out even more. Of the 16 states that reported abortion rates, 12 reported increases, including a 111 percent jump in Colorado, while only four reported a slight decrease.

    The Houston Chronicle estimated that amounts to 52,000 more abortions occurring in the United States than would have if the change in direction had not occurred."

  • Sally (unverified)

    If a 15-year-old female were involved in anything else, would she be called a woman? Isn't this insistence on using "woman" just a trifle disingenuous?

    I might be one of the few people who would own up to being pro-abortion. Not just "pro-choice," but pro-abortion, so long as we're talking the first trimester. I don't accept that abortions are "life changing." Babies are life changing.

    What I really am even more than pro-abortion for anyone not fully prepared to raise (or give to adoption) a child is pro-birth control. Educate it, advocate it, give the stuff away.

    This is one of those bills that there's just no good answer to or side to be on. I do think the pro-"choice" (or abortion) "side" in the 60s/70s made a strategic mistake in insisting that the right to abortion extended from beginning to end of pregnancy. That is from where virtually all the backlash has come. I take the original question in this post -- " Is this one of those times when Democrats should give ground?" -- to be toward a similar point.

  • LT (unverified)

    For all the anger aimed at either NARAL or Right to Life, my understanding is that the entire membership of those and related groups does not add up to more than 30% of the population.

    And if there is a larger group than that assembled multitude of activists, and if that larger group says "Why can't you guys talk about solutions rather than just competition" that might explain vote counts.

    There are some of us who see publicity events like "Life Chains" where a bunch of people stand on a street with signs saying things like "Abortion kills children" and wonder what that accomplishes.

    What such people holding signs are not prepared to answer are questions like this: 100 people holding signs on the side of a street for one hour is 100 person hours. Why should we believe that people who call themselves "pro-life" (as opposed to anti-abortion) couldn't find a better use for that many volunteer hours: volunteer at a soup kitchen, hospital, poison control center, mother& child classes, school, preschool, etc.

    How many are really "pro-life" as in caring about kids from birth to adulthood, and how many are just "pro-birth" as in "by golly that kid should be born but after birth is not our responsibility"?

    I would support an advocate for mother and child nutrition who belongs to a church morally opposed to abortion (and isn't in-your face "you're supposed to believe what my church teaches") over someone who is active in NARAL or some related group but doesn't have time to volunteer with programs for parents and kids.

    Let's stop the public events that generate news coverage and see more volunteer work in activities which benefit actual parents and kids.

    Or is the publicity what it is really all about?

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    Sometimes when we debate issues of principle, I wonder if we leave the practical behind. I've got questions and no answers. It would sure help the "debate" to have answers.

    How many girls a year would be affected by this law in Oregon? (e.g. is this a "large" issue, or a "small issue"?)

    How many girls a year are the victims of incest or rape that would be affected by this law? (e.g. is the protection of the girls from abusers in this context a "large issue" or a "small issue"?)

    Assuming that such a reporting law would reduce abortions and create new "unwanted" children, how is Oregon doing with adoption? Does every child get adopted? If not, what are the foster care/group care resources looking like? Can we afford to have "x" number of new adoption cases hitting the State caseloads?

    What happens to the children of teenage moms? How do these children compare to the non-teenage mom kids in terms of health, education, and crime outcomes?

    Do teenage mom's use more or less State resources than other people their age, and what does it do to the State budget to have more children in welfare/social service programs?


    Partly answering my own questions - if even one abused girl is further abused by this proposed law, then the proposed law is wrong.

    If implemented, such a law would increase State caseloads in adoption and foster care - and we are already against the wall with a lack of funding. Ironically, the same people that would support such a law have a heavy crossover to the same people that want to reduce taxes and State spending (not everyone, like any other issue there are many honest and moral people that would gladly pay more taxes to "save" a baby.)

    My last word is that this while this issue is often framed as part of the pro-choice vs. pro-life debate, it is in fact much more complicated, and we need to expose and air all the complications.

  • sidney (unverified)

    This is a bad bill that puts too many young women at risk. The other unbelievable thing was that a reportedly pro-choice legislator (Wirth, Corvallis) didn't even show up to the committee hearing to vote on it! It passed through the committee with a 5-3-1 vote! The same legislator introduced legislation to change the name of OSU, but didn't come for a vote about women's basic rights. Seems to be the trend this session-- what with schools still waiting for a reasonable allocation but we wont be eating foie gras. I'm all for ethical treatment of animals. . . But, lets get to the important stuff!

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    As to how many women this bill would affect, the vast majority of women come from homes with healthy communications, and would tell their parenents anyway.

    Of the 23% not inclined to tell their parents - often for very good reason - 39% reported they would attempt self-abortion and 86% said they would leave home.

    Also, sexual abuse and incest are more prevalent among pregnant teens.

    In the late eighties, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon was contacted by a young woman and her mom. The young woman was pregnant, they had money for the abortion, but not for travel and lodging. It took NARAL a day to raise the money for bus fare (from Idaho- which speaks to the need for rural women's services)- but before the young woman, Spring Adams, and her mom could board the bus, they were shot and killed by the father.

    Many of the anti-choice proponents of parental notification like to keep this discussion at the philosophical level, but the fact is this is legislation that has very real consequences for real people.

    The vast majority of young women don't need this bill, but for those actually affected by it, it puts them unnecessarily in harm's way.

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    Also, full disclosure: I have been working as the Interim ED of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon. It's on my bio on this site, but just wanted to make sure they people knew. But even if I wasn't working with NARAL, HB 2605's still really bad news.

  • David Wright (unverified)


    Regarding the tragic anecdote that you related (from a time when no such notification laws existed in Oregon), how would that situation have turned out any differently with HB2605 in place? Obviously there was a parent involved (the girl's mother) in that case already. Notification was not the issue. A psychotic father, apparently, was the issue.

    Pregnant minors with psychotic fathers would certainly be able to avail themselves of the alternate mechanism in HB2605 -- namely, going through a judge instead of the parents.

    Yes, there are many in the "pro-life" movement who would like to do anything at all to move towards a complete ban on all abortions. But that does not mean that any measure which would delay an abortion by a matter of days is completely unreasonable.

    Again, this reminds me of the furor over a 7-day waiting period for purchasing hand guns. The NRA would have us believe that simply making a person wait a week to buy a gun is essentially the same as wiping one's ass with the Bill of Rights. More reasonable, moderate folk can see that such a waiting period is no such thing. And frankly, the 2nd Amendment is a hell of a lot more explicit about a right to bear arms than any implied Constitutional right to an abortion that the Burger Court found, yet the 2nd Amendment is not absolute. Why then must abortion rights be absolute?

    From the original post on this thread:

    Do Democrats risk looking like ideologues standing between parents and 15-year-olds?
    Yeah, so far, I'd say so.

    There are real dangers out there (like the bill to criminalize crossing state lines to avoid parental consent/notification laws) that are serious "bad news" and are far more worthy of opposition on a wide front than this bill.

  • (Show?)

    Hi David:

    The case of Becky Bell directly related to Indiana's parental notification law, with fatal results. The case of Spring Adams, while not a result of parental notification law, is a very clear and close to home illustration of why not all families are alike, and the physical danger caused by the notification of some parents of their daughter's pregnancy.

    The point with the last case is that parental notification is going to increase the risk to women of physical abuse. And unlike waiting periods for firearms, there's the obvious difference of abortion being a time physical sensitive need.

    More red tape and government interference isnt the right approach- instead, we should work to reduce the need for abortions in the first place.

  • bamabarrron (unverified)

    The argument that good public policy is based on what works best for a majority is specious in my mind. Laws and policies are mostly needed to protect the rights of the minority ...sorta of in the constitution if you read it closely.

    This notification law/policy bothers the hell out of me on a couple levels. First, it feels like a return to the time when we routinely "blamed the victim." Lastly, and most important, it continues a dangerous precedent inasmuch as the primacy of the family system can not be questioned. My expereinces with providing services to minors who are part of a pathological family system has left me more than a little reluctant to concedde this point. There are many family systems that should never be notified for any reason.

  • Rep. Mary Nolan (unverified)

    Let"s be clear. HB 2605 is not about helping parents support their daughters.

    We know that from two clear events, neither of which have been reported in the mainstream press nor, disappointingly, in this discussion posting.

    First, with even 30 seconds of research, you'd have discovered that the Democrats, indeed, offered to "give ground." Democrats in the House offered a reasonable and mainstream alternative to the "solution" posed by the Republican parental notification bill. We actually consulted with doctors, nurses, family counselors and advocates for children to learn what would help families improve their communication in these stressful situations.

    What was not reported is that the House Democrats did in fact bring a minority report to the floor. Carried by Representative Greg Macpherson the minority report would have been a better approach. Like HB 2605, the minority report would have required notifying the parent of a teen before she undergoes an abortion. And like HB 2605, the minority report applied only to teens between 15 and 17 (people younger than 15 already may not give medical consent for any procedure, including abortion). Unlike HB 2605, however, the Democratic version put the intimate and emotional conversation about having a medical procedure where it belongs: between the doctor and the patient.

    Our minority report lays the responsibility for determining whether notifying a parent would put the teen at risk or expose her to harm on the shoulders of the medical professional. The doctor would be required to use the same standards in making this decision as a court uses.

    Even going beyond this broad issue of professional jurisdiction the minority report called for reasonable and real protections for young Oregon women that were omitted by HB 2605. These procedural rules would have promoted expanded involvement by responsible adults such as service advocates, counselors and, yes, parents. The minority report would have even required the presence of a parent(s) during any or all of the procedure upon the request of the patient.

    Sounds pretty reasonable, no? Sounds like a place of common ground, yes? Even sounds like a bill that has a pretty good chance of actually becoming law. So, it should sound like a bill that moderate Republicans with a sincere interest in helping families would support. But, in a transparent show of who the uncompromising extremists are, every single Republican on the floor voted against this reasoned, thoughtful, compassionate alternative.

    Second, while loudly proclaiming that they just wanted to make sure that naive young girls don't have to make complicated medical decision alone, the advocates of the extreme measure admitted that they didn't care about restricting access to any medical service except abortion. How about for a cesarean delivery (about 100 times riskier than an abortion)? Nope. How about prescription of psychotropic medication? Nope.

    Would you consult with a lawyer if you needed a heart transplant? Would you want to sit down and discuss your decision to donate a kidney with a judge? Would you want somebody with ZERO medical training to weigh in on your medical procedures and then instruct your doctor on whether to proceed?

    That is what our teenage Oregon women -- your sister or cousin or niece or neighbor or girlfriend -- would have to do if HB 2605 were to become law. Republicans in the House chamber want to require a 15-year-old who gets pregnant by her mother"s live-in boyfriend to demonstrate the legal savvy to appear before an administrative law judge - and even the Oregon Court of Appeals - to plead for permission to get an abortion.

    If Republicans were truly looking out for the well-being of young women who are seeking an abortion they would not require them to tell a potentially abusive parent (I am flattered, by the way, to have been quoted on the Weaver/Cleaver comparison statement -- thank you, Charlie & Chris!). They would not force them into friends" homes, hotel rooms and back alleys by giving them an ultimatum: face your parents or have a baby. I'd imagine for a teenage woman whose father is AWOL and whose mother can't cope these options would feel equally as daunting.

    The fact that Republicans would pass this poorly considered and divisive bill lays bare their willingness to pander to the anti-choice minority in Oregon. This kind of political posturing certainly won't get them any further in the other chamber, but as many posted responses lament, can alter Oregon"s discussion about a woman"s right to choose in a stark and disturbing manner.

    And, for the benefit of your readers who are too young to remember, or too recently discovered the paradise of Oregon, our voters already voted on virtually the same proposal as HB 2605. It was called Ballot Measure 10 in 1990. The voters found the compassion to understand then that the law would neither help nor hurt the 75-80% of families where teens already consult with one or both parents. But they came to realize that it could have devastating -- even fatal -- consequences in families hindered with debilitating circumstances. The voters said "No." We legislators should learn from them and follow their lead.

    Incidentally, I would like to note that HB 2020 was passed out of the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, not from the House Floor as may be the impression taken from this posting
    HB 2020 is due on the House Floor for debate on Mon, May 9th

  • David Shaff (unverified)

    Rep. Nolan,

    Well said.

    I only wish I lived in your district so that I could vote for you.

    I will do the next best thing and contribute $50.00 to NARAL to continue the fight.

    David Shaff

  • LT (unverified)

    Rep. Nolan, If anyone gives you any flak on this or any other issue, challenge them to explain their views on this or HB 2322 or any other bill in such excellent and intelligent detail.

    They may not be capable of doing so--as Pres. Bartlett said in that presidential debate on West Wing, "10 word answers are the tip of the sword. Give me 10 words more. Give me a third 10 words and I will drop out of the race--most issues are just too complex for 10 words. "

  • Anthony (unverified)

    I guess considering the wishes of constituents with whom Mary Nolan disagrees is "pandering."

    Because there are "potentially abusive" parents, all parents are to be stripped of their authority. And in a case where a daugher might prefer to avoid an uncomfortable confrontation with her parents Mary Nolan disingenuously argues that this measure would not affect the "75-80% of families where teens already consult," etc.

  • Gregor (unverified)

    Maybe we can best describe the Pro-Life people as Birth on Demand.

  • Anthony (unverified)

    And since the pro-choice people are seeking death on demand, even for minors, we can come up with a complementary epithet for them.

  • (Show?)

    Anthony, you should explain yourself. Are you frustrated that in 75 - 80% of teen abortion cases the teen chooses to consult their parents on their own? Most teens choose to have their parents involved. When they choose not to involve their parents they usually have a very good concern - their personal safety.

    It seems to me it is the extremely radical anti-choice supporters that are being disingenuous by attempting to create the public belief that teens are just out happily getting abortions without telling their parents. Unfortunately for your/their position, the facts don't support this.

    Both the Republican and Democrat proposals required parental involvement - the difference being that the Democrats allow doctors to decide when an exception should be made, while the Republicans would leave it up the Department of Administrative Hearings. Is it your opinion that a bureaucrat in the Department of Administrative Hearings is more qualified than a doctor to make this decision?

  • (Show?)

    Greg McPherson rooolz! A very active, thoughtful and non-confrontational lawmaker, with broad support from both sides of the aisle (he managed to win BOTH the Democrat and GOP primaries last summer, thus either running against himself, or unopposed).

    I would sell my kids to see him take Hooley on in my district. Or someone's kids, anyway.

  • (Show?)

    TJ, it's Macpherson, not McPherson.

  • (Show?)

    And it's "rules," not "rooolz!"

    Thanks for the correction. I'm on his email list; guess the spelling hasn't taken in my brain yet.

  • Anthony (unverified)

    Jon, as a more careful reading of my post would have communicated to you, I simply don't believe that the 75-80% represents children who will tell their parents. What "facts" in your possession could adequately demonstrate that this were the case? Frankly, I think believing what you're arguing requires credulity. Stating it may only require bad faith or disingenuousness.

    What decision is it that a doctor is supposed to be qualified to make? I would certainly trust a strictly medical matter to a medical professional. But I don't think that's what's at issue here. The question of whether a minor (or anyone else) should have an abortion is generally philosophical/ethical. If the question is whether the girl is going to be beaten by her parents, that's not medical either.

    If the girl faces such a prospect, then she needn't "demonstrate legal savvy"; the medical professionals she approached could provide her with the necessary direction to involve the proper authorities.

  • Gregor (unverified)

    Death on demand pre-supposes that the fetus is an individual human life. That debate is still raging.

  • Anthony (unverified)

    Well, Gregor, if it weren't alive, you wouldn't need to kill it.

    It takes a fascinating degree of sophistry to argue that a genetically unique organism of the human species is neither alive nor human.

  • Gregor (unverified)

    You left out individual, separate and distinct.

  • (Show?)

    I simply don't believe that the 75-80% represents children who will tell their parents.

    The American Medical Association's conservative study on this issue has concluded that in states with no government mandated parental notification, at least 61% of all pregnant teens will contact their parents prior to seeking an abortion.

    The point is this: a law isn't needed for those families, and for those who would be affected by this new mandate, often there are very good reasons for not telling. Why should some scumbag who's raped and impregnated his daughter get veto power over his daughter's reproductive options?

    Another point that has been lost in all of this, but is worth mentioning, is that HB 2605 is 100% about POLITICS and has ZERO to do with enacting good legislation to help our state. It will not pass the Senate. It will not be signed by the Governor. It is a waste of taxpayer resources aimed at stirring up the religous right, not doing the people's real business of governing.

    I echo others' appreciation for the good work Rep. Mary Nolan and other House Dems have done to defeat this bad bill and reduce the likihood of dangerous illegal abortions for women.

  • Anthony (unverified)

    Charlie wrote: "Why should some scumbag who's raped and impregnated his daughter get veto power over his daughter's reproductive options?"

    I guess one could say that he has already exercised "veto power over his daughter's reproductive options." And for his reward he should be imprisoned at the very least.

    I agree that under exceptional cases something should be done. If the girl's father is also father of her child, other legal questions are at issue, and a confrontation with him is very much in order. If a girl has reason to fear serious abuse then someone ought to be able to intervene for her. But parental authority should not be subverted except in exceptional circumstances that are reasonably demonstrated to be so.

    The general maxim I would cite to respond to your post is that hard cases make bad law.

    On the point on which you quote me, you've backed down from 75% to 80% to 61%. I guess I was wise to be skeptical. What can you tell me about the methodology behind the AMA study? Also, do you really doubt that some young women would rather get an abortion than own up to their parents even though they don't expect to get beaten (let alone that they were all impregnated by homicidal father-rapists who actually would prefer to bring their children-of-incest to term)?

  • Anthony (unverified)

    Gregor, not sure what your point is. "Unique" isn't close enough to "individual"?

  • RonnieT (unverified)

    Is the decision to have an abortion “generally philosophical/ethical?" I am inclined to agree with you, Anthony. The decision to have any medical procedure – for some communities, right here in Oregon, seeking any form of professional medical attention (as for a child who could otherwise die from fever or influenza, for a rather light instance) – is an ethical decision.

    And, I will venture to suppose that even if one were to provide statistics that demonstrated a drop in abortion rates due to the implementation of a parental notification or a parental consent law that it would not resolve the discussion. One may feel that any drop in number of abortions for women aged 15-17 is a positive development. One may come to that judgment, however, without the consideration of what these girls are using as alternatives.

    Young women who will decide for one reason or another to not include their parent(s) in their decision to seek an abortion– with or without concern of abuse and/or incest at home – are not going to be swayed by law. Missing an appointment, or leaving a clinic without making one, is even easier than committing the acts that land a young woman there in the first place.

    Will she now risk traveling across state lines with an adult unknown to her in order to reserve her future for herself, thus committing a federal offense? Will she now risk giving over her body, safety and life to the hands of an illegal abortion provider in a hotel room or strangers home? We now risk placing our minors in the position of being criminals in addition to being horrified, panic-stricken and effectively forced into parent/adulthood barring illegal actions.

    Why help to create a surplus of juvenile offenders…or deaths? But I digress...where should our postings actually be focused? The numbers and statistics are not what this minority report was about. The House D’s offered an opportunity to help a young woman and her doctor have the time and security to have the open and honest discussion about including her parents. Regardless of the outcome/decision, the discussion would not be forced to take place in the office of an expanded bureaucracy with a representative of the legal system. And instead of demonstrating concern about the young women and (medical) field experts who should be involved in this decision, the other side of the aisle stood in solidarity to expand government, spend more on adminstrative fees for counseling and judgment, and force young Oregonians into being culpable for their unfortuante attempt at legislating family values. As previously mentioned by Burr, of course, this bill would be lucky to see the light of day on the Senate side...

  • (Show?)

    Ok folks, we're done now. This thread is about HB 2605. If you'd like to continue arguing about abortion generally, please take it elsewhere.

    Heck, start your own blog even. is free, and starts at $5/mo.

    Of course, if you'd like to continue discussing parental notification legislation, and specifically HB2605, please feel free to continue.

  • Gregor (unverified)

    While I would rather not circumvent discussions with semantics, unique implies no other like it. Individual suggests of itself, i.e. separate from the mother. The fetus is of the mother, albeit unique.

    While I see the various situational issues being discussed here, having eaten some lunch and mulled over it a bit I offer this, and I see myself, a man, as so far removed from the issue as to be non-consequential, birth on demand is not the lesser of the two evils. In any situation, forced birth condemns the child to a miserable existence, even in the most affluent of homes. The alternative is not pretty, but it is reasonable and the mother's decision.

  • (Show?)

    Anthony you wrote: "Also, do you really doubt that some young women would rather get an abortion than own up to their parents even though they don't expect to get beaten (let alone that they were all impregnated by homicidal father-rapists who actually would prefer to bring their children-of-incest to term)?"

    Yes, of course there are cases in which a woman comes from a healthy family with good communications, but doesn't want to disappoint her parents so she seeks an illegal and dangerous abortion. The case mentioned earlier (Becky Bell) was such a situation, but that doesn't make it any less tragic. And parental notification was still at the core of this unnessary tragedy.

    For the study, Rep. Nolan knows a lot more about this issue and has a longer history than me - it was her original figure you were questioning. I just happen to know of the AMA study, which confirmed and quantified the assertion that the majority of women would tell their parents anyway. This is intuitive anyway...

    The general maxim I would cite to respond to your post is that hard cases make bad law.

    I think how parental notification would hurt the minority of women not inclined to seek mandated parental consent is at the heart of this issue. Again, the people the bill purports to help would be the ones most harmed by this harmful legislation. (Were it designed to actually become law - which of course it's not.)

  • K. Sudbeck (unverified)

    With the above logic, Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to purchase a gun for her self defense, without parental consent nor notification. Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to drive or fly an airplane, without parental consent nor notification. Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to drink, it's her body, without parental consent nor notification. Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to obtain breast implants, it's her body, without parental consent nor notification. Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to smoke, it's her body, without parental consent nor notification. Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to serve in the military, it's her body, without parental consent nor notification. If a 13 year old has the maturity to make life or death decisions, than I don't see any reason why they can't serve in the military. We should allow military recruiters in junior high. As noted above, if the logic that a 13-15 year old can make mature decision like abortion. Than, I see no reason why we should not allow a 13-15 year old to make decisions that would allow them to defend their country, if they feel so inclined. Tell me if the application of your logic passes the test or is there a reason we have an age of majority?

  • K. Sudbeck (unverified)

    With the above logic, Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to purchase a gun for her self defense, without parental consent nor notification. Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to drive or fly an airplane, without parental consent nor notification. Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to drink, it's her body, without parental consent nor notification. Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to obtain breast implants, it's her body, without parental consent nor notification. Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to smoke, it's her body, without parental consent nor notification. Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to serve in the military, it's her body, without parental consent nor notification. If a 13 year old has the maturity to make life or death decisions, than I don't see any reason why they can't serve in the military. We should allow military recruiters in junior high. As noted above, if the logic that a 13-15 year old can make mature decision like abortion. Than, I see no reason why we should not allow a 13-15 year old to make decisions that would allow them to defend their country, if they feel so inclined. Tell me if the application of your logic passes the test or is there a reason we have an age of majority?

  • K. Sudbeck (unverified)

    With the above logic, Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to purchase a gun for her self defense, without parental consent nor notification. Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to drive or fly an airplane, without parental consent nor notification. Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to drink, it's her body, without parental consent nor notification. Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to obtain breast implants, it's her body, without parental consent nor notification. Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to smoke, it's her body, without parental consent nor notification. Why don't we make it legal for a 13 year old girl to serve in the military, it's her body, without parental consent nor notification. If a 13 year old has the maturity to make life or death decisions, than I don't see any reason why they can't serve in the military. We should allow military recruiters in junior high. As noted above , if the logic that a 13-15 year old can make mature decision like abortion. Than, I see no reason why we should allow them to make decisions that would allow them to defend their country if they feel so inclined. Tell me if the application of your logic passes the test or is there a reason we have an age of majority?

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