There’s a nice (if by “nice” I mean “obscene”) piece of framing from Bill “I had no problem having a large family while collecting extra housing allowance from the taxpayer” English on the SATANIC UNDERAGE ABORTIONS issue:
If a school doctor wants to give a pupil a Panadol, they have to tell parents … It is time to swing the pendulum back in favour of parents
The “pendulum” is a fascinating insight into how those who would deny pregnant teens basic medical confidentiality think: that teens and parents are inherently oppositional forces, and that the preferential treatment of one force – in this case, teens – is just a natural imbalance that needs to be corrected.
They of course can’t see the massive cognitive dissonance in arguing that the “pendulum” is too far in favour of teens … while using “parents have to give consent for Panadol” to back up their arguments.
And they can’t even begin to consider that maybe viewing themselves and their teenaged children as natural enemies, looking on their children as strange alien beings whose motives are inscrutable and who must be forced into line … might kinda be one of the big throbbing reasons their kids don’t want to fucking include them in discussions about sex and pregnancy.
Teenagers under 16 don’t get to have abortions without parental involvement because one day somebody just decided “hey, let’s experiment with the idea of giving teens this level of control, push the “pendulum” out there and dial it back after a while”. They get to have abortions without parental notification because some parents are fucking evil bastards who are abusive and controlling and dangerous. They get to have abortions without parental notification because pregnancy is a big fucking deal and only the person whose body it’s happening in, whose body will be irrevocably changed by it, who might fucking die from it, should have the right to decide whether it continues.
There is only a “pendulum” in this situation if you truly believe that the right to medical confidentiality and the right to choose whether to continue to be pregnant are not fundamental, straight-up human rights. There is only a “pendulum” if you think an under-16-year-old’s rights are worth less than an adult’s, because they’re still the property of their parents (oh, fine, “under their parents’ authority” because that phrasing isn’t too uncomfortably accurate).
Imagine what else might be a “pendulum”. Women’s right to vote? Well, maybe it’s time to swing the pendulum back in favour of men, because that sure wasn’t predicated on women being men’s property. Women’s right to be granted custody of their children post-divorce? Maybe it’s time to swing the pendulum back in favour of husbands, because that sure wasn’t predicated on children being their father’s property.
Human rights are not fucking pendulums, Bill English. Teenagers are not their parents’ property. And the more that asshats like you talk about the rights of parents, the more I will feel certain that this issue is about nothing more than your need to control those you perceive as your property and the terrible fear you have of a future generation that neither needs nor wants your outmoded shit.
[H/T to LudditeJourno for further details on Bill English’s antichoice views.]