Saturday, May 11, 2013

Carolina Crazyfight

It's getting real in the Carolinas this week, with a serious crazy-off between North and South.

South Carolina looked to make a big splash by re-electing creepy Mark Sanford to Congress. The heavily Republican First District chose a man currently charged with violating a court order to stay out of his ex-wife's house over Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Bush. But will he celebrate his victory by hiking the Appalachian Trail?

North Carolina will see that challenge and raise you two houses of state legislators just a-rarin' to draft some crazy laws.
  • The NC House passed a bill forbidding doctors to perform gender-selective abortions. Because nothing promotes a healthy doctor-patient relationship like the threat of a $100,000 penalty for failing to correctly guess patient intent.
  • The Senate did its part by mandating that children be taught the science fact that having an abortion increases the likelihood of premature birth later in life. Spoiler alert: not true.
  • The House is still deliberating a law, which would prevent a doctor from treating sexually transmitted infections, dispensing contraception or even performing a pregnancy test on a teenager without her parent's consent:
No physician licensed to practice medicine in North Carolina shall perform an abortion upon an unemancipated minor or provide medical health services for an unemancipated minor for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of (i) venereal diseases and other diseases reportable under G.S. 130A‑135, (ii) abuse of controlled substances or alcohol, (iii) emotional disturbance, or (iv) pregnancy unless the physician or agent thereof or another physician or agent thereof first obtains the written consent of the minor and the written consent, acknowledged in accordance with Chapter 10B of the General Statutes, of:
(1)        A parent with custody of the minor; or
(2)        The legal guardian or legal custodian of the minor . . .
Game, set, match! North Carolina, FTW!

Sure, they included a judicial bypass provision. Because a scared kid totally has the time and skills to navigate the legal system when she needs to be tested for STIs and feels she can't tell her parents.

This last provision got me thinking about what legal rights kids have to access reproductive health services under the law. Title X mandates confidential access in federally funded programming. But in private healthcare, state law governs. And state law is getting more and more restrictive. Take a look at these charts from the Guttmacher Institute's website.

The first shows a state-by-state breakdown of laws governing minors' access to abortion and contraception in 2005.

Parental Involvement in Minors' Access to Abortion and Contraceptive Services
StateAbortionContraception
AlabamaPCLMC
AlaskaPEMC
ArizonaPCMC
ArkansasPCMC
CaliforniaPEMC
ColoradoPNMC
ConnecticutLMC*LMC
DelawarePN†LMC
Dist. of ColumbiaMCMC
FloridaPNLMC
GeorgiaPNMC
HawaiiNLLMC
IdahoPEMC
IllinoisPELMC
IndianaPCLMC
IowaPNMC
KansasPNLMC
KentuckyPCMC
LouisianaPCLMC
MaineLMC*LMC
MarylandPN†MC
MassachusettsPCMC‡
MichiganPCLMC
MinnesotaPN‡MC
MississippiPC‡LMC
MissouriPCLMC
MontanaPEMC
NebraskaPNLMC
NevadaPELMC
New HampshirePELMC
New JerseyPELMC
New MexicoPEMC
New YorkNLMC
North CarolinaPCMC
North DakotaPC‡NL
OhioPCNL
OklahomaPNLMC
OregonNLMC
PennsylvaniaPCLMC
Rhode IslandPCNL
South CarolinaPCLMC
South DakotaPNLMC
TennesseePCMC
TexasPCLMC§
UtahPNLMC§
VermontNLLMC
VirginiaPCMC
WashingtonNLMC
West VirginiaPN†LMC
WisconsinPC†NL
WyomingPCMC
Notes: MC=Minor explicitly allowed to consent; LMC=Minor explicitly allowed to consent in limited circumstances (such as if married, a parent, pregnant or older than a specified age); PN=Parental notice required; PC= Parental consent required; NL=No explicit law or policy; PE=Law permanently enjoined.

*Minor may obtain an abortion upon meeting specified counseling requirements. †Allows specified health professionals to waive parental involvement if judge is unavailable. ‡Requires the involvement of both parents. §State funds may not be used to provide minors with confidential contraceptive services. For more detail, see Guttmacher Institute, Parental involvement in minors' abortions, State Policies in Brief, October 2005, and Guttmacher Institute, Minors' access to contraceptive services, State Policies in Brief, October 2005, available at .

And, here's a similar Guttmacher chart from this year. (Forgive the screenshot.)

Depressing. Today's $5 is for the Guttmacher Institute. Thanks for the (gloomy) data.
 

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