Abortions and Aspirins: “Fact Checkers” at it again

By Dave Andrusko

aspirin32Talk about straining gnats and swallowing camels…

I happened to run across a column from one of those ever-more-popular, ever-more-dubious Fact Checkers. Mark Robison, to be specific, whose job it evidently is to assure readers of the Reno Gazette Journal that he is going to soberly weigh a claim and tell them how much is wheat and how much is chaff.

According to Robison, Nevada Right to Life, NRLC’s state affiliate, sent out an email about a bill that would require minor girls (under 18) to obtain parental permission to have an abortion.

The email says, Robison writes,” A child under 18 cannot get a tattoo, a Band-Aid, aspirin or use a tanning bed in the state of Nevada without parental consent let alone simple notification … yet she can get a surgical abortion.”

I won’t bore you by going into all the details or the extent to which Robison goes on and on so he can conclude that the email’s claims are “for the most part” true. (You would think he was splitting the atom.)

So to evaluate the claim Robison contacted Melissa Clement, Nevada Right to Life’s president, who, he tells us, “quickly responded.”

Fact is, a minor in Nevada may not obtain a tattoo without parental consent. And, as of a recent legislative change, a minor may not use a tanning bed at all, with or without parental consent. You can look it up, which is what Clement had done.

How about aspirins? Minors can “self-administer,” Robison writes, but, Clement is right. “Aspirin is a non-prescription medication so it would fall under this [parental] consent rule,” Robison concedes.

Well…you can’t have a pro-lifer be three for three, so I knew something special was coming. Clement (according to Robison) cited a teacher at a specific Nevada school who was told “not to distribute Band-Aids to students because of potential latex allergies.”

Robison tells us that the director of Student Health Services told him that only approved, latex-free products from the school warehouse are used. Ergo the school nurse could use them without parental permission.

The only thing that would not be allowed would be if the teacher brought in her own band aids (with or without latex) because they did not come from the warehouse. Thus this particular claim, Robison decreed, was “mostly not true.”

So, two 100% correct assertions and one “mostly not true”=“for the most part” true.

What to say? Simply this.

Does anything that Robison found in any way minimize Clement’s point, which is that parental permission is required for the most mundane things at the same time that an under-18 girl can have an abortion without her parent’s permission?

Of course not.

Robison assures the reader, “The merits and morality of abortion or parental consent laws have no bearing on the verdict of this Fact Checker.”

Good thing for him, for otherwise he would have to defend the preposterous notion that parents are a hazard to their minor daughters, not their most important guardians.