By Dave Andrusko
The headline reads “15-year-old faces choices” and the “choices’ surround a young woman whose parents have “pushed desperately for their daughter to have an early abortion,” according to the aunt, whose letter is the subject of Washington Post Lifestyle columnist Carolyn Hax’s column today.
The back and forth (the newspaper column is actually an adaptation of an online discussion) raises a number of nitty gritty issues and is revealing, intentionally and unintentionally. BTW: the teenager—“Niecey”—“can be very strong-willed and has decided to keep the baby” which has led to a “family war.”
We don’t know for sure the aunt’s position, although we can probably make an educated guess. She asks Hax if it would make sense to have Niecey stay with her and her husband for a few months. It would allow tempers to cool “and let me bring some outside perspective to the abortion issue.”
In addition, “as an added bonus,” she writes, “I’ve got three kids under age 6, so it might be an eye-opening look at the reality of parenting a small child.”
The format is for Hax to respond and then comment on online readers’ responses to the original letter and to Hax’s advice. To respondent #1 Hax says, in effect, “makes sense” (“she’d get to see small-kid reality up close”), but adds don’t use the occasion to lobby for abortion which she (like I suspect most of us) appears to be believe might be the aunt’s real motivation.
But another respondent counters, “Wow. I expect spending time with my young children would reaffirm a decision to give birth and perhaps keep a baby. I feel sorry for her kids if their Mom thinks they are an argument in favor abortion.” Which seems to be a reasonable interpretation of what Hax is saying, but raises Hax’s hackles.
The rest of the exchange (www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/family-of-a-pregnant-15-year-old-faces-choices/2011/09/02/gIQAJYpIdK_story.html) also tells us more about the respondents than the merits of the situation. To her credit Hax rejects the idea that the child (assuming he/she is allowed to live) is exclusively Niecey’s responsibility, as if to abandon her is punishment for not aborting her baby. “[T]here’s a real person being raised, not an example,” Hax says.
But having offered some constructive insights, Hax plummets to the bottom of the class with her answer to the third comment.
“Has anybody impartially laid out all the options for this girl? Maybe her aunt can make sure she makes an informed decision.”
To which Hax says, “Agreed, thanks — if no one has done this. Planned Parenthood is a good resource, but if she reacts as if it’s all about abortion (it’s not)…”
To be fair, the rest of the answer is to go elsewhere if you don’t accept PPFA. But this is just another in an endless stream of answers premised on the assumption that Planned Parenthood is practically abortion-neutral rather than abortion-dependent.
Let’s hope however this situation is negotiated, the family comes together to protect its newest member even if the arrival of she/he is not coming under ideal conditions.
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