Why do antichoicers have to lie about parental notification?

[Trigger warning:  youth suicide]

In another of his copy-paste jobs (because he just won’t learn) Bob McCoskrie quotes the following:

Much to the dismay of ardent feminists, many states already have on the books so-called parental involvement laws, decrees which require a girl to notify a parent, guardian, or other approved adult or family member before she can obtain an abortion.

A new study by Joseph Sabia and Daniel Rees, researchers from San Diego State University and the University of Colorado, Denver, gives further evidence in support of such laws. States that have parental notification laws, they find, also see a drop in the suicide rate of girls ages 15 through 17.

What’s wrong with this “analysis”?

If your first guess was “anyone who uses the phrase “ardent feminist” isn’t exactly unbiased”, you get a foetus-shaped cookie covered in blood-sprinkles.

Now, here’s a link to the actual article, because Bob’s penis doesn’t deserve pageviews.  What jumps out at you from that?  Is it this bit at the end?

This article has been republished with permission from The Family in America, a publication of The Howard Center. The Howard Center is a MercatorNet partner site.

Have another foetus-shaped cookie with a red-licorice umbilical.

But who is “The Howard Center”?  If the URL of “profam.org” doesn’t give enough of a hint, here’s what they say about themselves:

Introducing The World Congress of Families

We affirm that the natural human family is established by the Creator and essential to good society.

The “Natural” Family and Society

The natural family is the fundamental social unit, inscribed in human nature, and centered on the voluntary union of a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage. The natural family is defined by marriage, procreation and, in some cultures, adoption. Free, secure and stable families that welcome children are necessary for healthy society. The society that abandons the natural family as the norm is destined for chaos and suffering.

Oh!  They’re extremist Christians!  Who would have thought?

And the actual study they’re citing?  Why, that’s here.  It’s okay, Bob, we already knew that the concept of linking to primary sources so people can make up their own minds is alien to you.

I am no stats nerd, and I welcome any who are to provide their own commentary on the math.  But here’s the thing:

Poisson estimates indicate that the adoption of a parental involvement law is associated with an 11%–21% decrease in the number of 15- through 17-year-old females who commit suicide. … we conclude that these estimates likely reflect a causal relationship, but note that its magnitude appears to be modest: for an average-sized state, an 11% decrease in the number of 15- through 17-year-old females who commit suicide translates into 0.79 fewer suicides per year, while a 21% decrease translates into 1.50 fewer suicides per year; ordinary least squares estimates confirm that only a small portion of the within-state variation in suicides among U.S. minors can be attributed to parental involvement laws.

Sure, the fundies have a good point when they say that every teen suicide prevented is a good thing (presuming it’s prevented because the teen in question chooses not to, and not because they’re locked in a basement by controlling parents).  But we’re still talking about one less suicide a year.  Not exactly a slam-dunk of a finding, that.

And without wanting to disparage the entire science of statistics, it still bugs me to see these kind of numbers with no context.  We just don’t know why there’s a causal connection – though the study has a suggestion:

This pattern of results suggests that the adoption of a parental involvement law results in an immediate reduction in suicides, but that after the first year its impact wanes. This may be because the enactment of the laws typically comes amidst press coverage alerting minors and their parents to the new law, but dissipates as public attention to the law diminishes

Right, so for a blip in time, teenagers are more leery of sex, or feel more able to insist on contraception, because the idea of having to tell their parents they’re knocked up is front of mind.  After that … yeah, nah.  Doesn’t seem like much of a compelling case for the religious lobby’s assertion that

it seems reasonable to suggest that if parental notification laws do indeed act as a deterrent upon risky sexual behaviors, such laws save many more girls from severe psychological distress, even if that distress does not end ultimately in the ending of life.

Um, just a thought:  maybe wait until you’ve got an actual study linking parental notification laws with “risky” sexual behaviours before you start jumping to conclusions.

And finally:

Levine … found that the adoption of a parental involvement law was associated with a 15%–20% reduction in the abortion rate of 15- through 17-year-olds, and a 4%–9% reduction in their pregnancy rate.

Which means that one seemingly incontrovertible effect of parental notification laws is more teenagers having babies.  Choice.

So there we go.  Bob McCoskrie is still stealing other people’s content with paltry attribution and no value-add commentary, and can’t even be honest enough to present the real findings of the study or acknowledge his sources are religiously biased.

~

Bonus fail, from the article McCoskrie thieved:

“Under the law,” reports the Chicago Tribune, “a parent or a guardian would have to be notified at least 48 hours before an abortion was performed on a minor except in cases of a medical emergency, sexual abuse, neglect or physical abuse.”

Um, Chicago Tribune?  If a minor’s pregnant, it’s a case of sexual abuse.  That’s the point of having a legal definition of “minor”, douchebags.

~

In the interests of even-handedness, here’s a disclaimer:  I’m prochoice as all fuck.  You might have gathered.

3 comments

  1. AlisonM

    As ever, thank you for doing this so we don’t have to. A good read, and good to know what ‘science’ we’ll have to be dealing with tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. Oh, hey, wondering if Bob has read the latest maternal mortality report: highest cause of maternal death in Aotearoa is suicide. We need to do more to support people in ALL their choices. People who choose to parent clearly need more help than they’re getting. People who choose to have abortions — well, it would be nice to not be shamed and stigmatised and called a killer just for starters.