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Thursday, May 05, 2005

'Too young to choose'

So now Florida is trying to force a 13-year old to carry a fetus to term because the mother isn't mature enough to consent to an abortion.  Do you understand how sick that is?

Update by Dan: Florida has since dropped its effort to pursue this course of action in the courts.

Posted by Ethan Leib on May 5, 2005 at 01:48 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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Well, if she's not mature enough to make the decision, I'm not sure what relevance her will has to the whole thing.

And the rationale I offered was focused entirely on the harm done to the minor, and didn't mention at all any harm to her child. It certainly isn't a moral wrong to protect a child from harming herself morally. The suggestion that preventing a child from harming herself morally is an instance of 'using her body as an instrument of the state' seems entirely out of place.

Posted by: Thomas | May 6, 2005 12:13:53 AM

Using a 13-year old's body to force her to have a child against her will is a serious moral wrong. Using human bodies as instruments of the state is a serious moral wrong.

Even supposing you are right that it is a moral wrong to terminate a pregnancy, it is still far from clear that the government should be committing wrongs of its own to prevent a 13-year old's moral failures.

Posted by: Ethan Leib | May 5, 2005 3:47:53 PM

What, exactly, is wrong with the position?

Is the thought that she's not mature enough to have a child, but is mature enough to make a decision to have an abortion? If maturity is the issue, then surely it's an issue either way.

It's something else, isn't it? It's the bare suggestion that abortion is morally dangerous and thus should be chosen only by those fully able to understand the consequences of the decision.

I think it's clearly much more harmful for the girl to have the abortion than for her to deliver the child at term, but that's because I believe abortion is a serious moral wrong. It would take an affirmative view the other way--the view that abortion isn't more harmful than carrying the child to term--and, under law, there isn't such a view. (Officially speaking--of course there is in practice, since most judges share your view. That's why, for example, a minor can't get married but can always have an abortion. One is harmful, and the other isn't, and all that.)

Posted by: Thomas | May 5, 2005 3:10:21 PM

Thanks for the clarification.

Posted by: Ethan Leib | May 5, 2005 2:39:56 PM

Earlier this week, the judge in the case reversed his decision to block the abortion, and the state isn't appealing. http://www.palmbeachpost.com/state/content/gen/ap/FL_Abortion_Dispute.html

That doesn't take anything away, however, from the oddity of the government's argument in the case.

Posted by: Jared | May 5, 2005 2:09:51 PM

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