Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

laurie roberts

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I had long suspected that Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts’ focus on child abuse in her columns is little more than self-serving preening but her latest piece removed all doubt.

Last week, Democrat Fred DuVal told members of a Gilbert church that he believes your 14-year-old daughter should be able to get an abortion without first getting your consent.

DuVal’s comments – to me, at least – were stunning and the most stunning part of the story?

It wasn’t news.

DuVal was appearing at the Redemption Church in Gilbert where Pastor Tom Shrader asked him a series of questions, including this one on the rights of parents when it comes to their teen-age daughters and abortion.

If one were a true champion of abused children, as Roberts claims to be, then it should not be a shock that someone would oppose requiring parental notification and consent for abortion. It should be bleedingly obvious to Laurie Roberts, of all people, why that would be. Yet it isn’t. And Laurie has so many questions!

On Tuesday, I tried to talk with DuVal to clarify. Does he really believe that 14 year olds should be able to get abortions without a parent’s consent?…

…So, DuVal wouldn’t try to change existing law but he doesn’t believe that parents have the right to know that their young daughters are contemplating abortion?…

…On Tuesday, I asked several political editors why. The answers were varied, mostly that they were swamped with the gay-marriage story late last week and that it didn’t seem particularly newsworthy that a pro-choice candidate would oppose parental consent…

…But I wonder if the same editorial decision would have been made had it been Ducey saying that he opposed the state’s opt-out provision – the one that exists for girls who face the very-real threat of a beating if they tell mommy and daddy they want an abortion.

My guess is we’d cover that Ducey story. The fact that we didn’t cover the DuVal story?

I hope I’m wrong, but I’m wondering, does it say more about us than about him?

Man, that’s some weapons-grade pearl clutching there, and not a whole lot of interest in the well-being of the pregnant, scared teens themselves. Maybe Roberts is only interested in babies and small children who are abused. Once they’ve hit puberty and are sexually active, they have it coming I guess? Roberts does finally mention abuse at the end of her piece, using some rather disturbing phrasing – “…girls who face the very-real threat of a beating if they tell mommy and daddy they want an abortion.” Very few teenagers call their parents “mommy and daddy” so I don’t even know what that’s about. Oh, and why might it be covered differently if Ducey publicly opposed allowing girls who fear violence from their families to opt out of the notification/consent requirement? Because that is a monstrous position. I mean, damn, Laurie.

I imagine that it has simply never occurred to Laurie Roberts that the notion of children being the property of parents, which Arizona’s parental consent for abortion law is firmly rooted in, is a major contributing factor to the scourge of child abuse. Incidentally, here is the rationale Americans United for Life, which provides the model anti-choice legislation for the whole country, gives for requiring parental notification for a minor’s abortion:

The [Legislature]’s purposes in enacting this parental notice law are to further the
important and compelling State interests of:
(1) Protecting minors against their own immaturity.
(2) Fostering family unity and preserving the family as a viable social unit.
(3) Protecting the constitutional rights of parents to rear children who are members of
their household.
(4) Reducing teenage pregnancy and abortion.
(5) In light of the foregoing statements of purpose, allowing for judicial bypasses of
parental notification to be made only in exceptional or rare circumstances.

Only no. 1 directly relates to the minors and no. 4 is flat out absurd. Numbers 2, 3, and 5 err heavily on the side of parents and against abused teens.

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