Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Un-Planned Parental-notification debate in Aurora

For years, pro-life advocates have argued in favor of tougher parental notification and consent laws by pointing out that it’s ridiculous for a teenage girl to need her parent’s consent to get her ears pierced or her tonsils removed, but not if she is having the highly invasive ‘medical procedure’ that is abortion. And for years, pro-choice advocates have dismissed that line of argument as silly, pointing out the obvious (and, for the purpose of their arguement, somewhat ironic) truth that abortion is hardly comparable to ‘ordinary’ medical procedures.

But, in the course of arguing that there was no reason to disclose to Aurora residents that the "medical building" being constructed by Gemini Development Corp. was really a Planned Parenthood clinic, pro-choice advocated have apparently changed their tune:

Planned Parenthood leaders have said they followed all developer guidelines -- a point on which city leaders agree -- and that the city zones for medical buildings and not for "podiatrists, general internists and plastic surgery."

Daily Herald, August 25, 2007
Since pro-choice advocates, including Planned Parenthood, have long argued - for reasons that make their operations sound more like “social services” than purely “medical” care - that abortion should not subject to standard parental consent requirements, it seems disingenuous for them to now suggest that they are merely performing “medical” services on par with podiatry or internal medicine.

Either Gemini Development Corp's application to develop a “medical building” was based on insufficient, if not downright misleading, information (in which case, the city should deny them their final occupancy permit), or Planned Parenthood is giving away the pro-choice arguement against parental consent laws. After all, if what they are doing is no different than foot surgery, than why should they not held to standard parental consent regulations.


Sam,  11:03 AM  

The abortion industry is not very safe or regulated.
It is about making money.
The safety regulations are less so than other surgeries.

Anonymous,  11:32 AM  

Why should planned parenthood announce their plans to the world, knowing what crazies tend to come out of the woodwork to slow or frustrate the process? Your post shows how some people are quick to object when planned parenthood does something that others do all the time -- buy and renovate a building.

grand old partisan 12:09 PM  

11:32 - Why should planned parenthood announce their plans to the world? Because that's what the law says they are required to do. Unfortunately, they found a way to get around the intent of the law (which is give local residents notice of what might be coming into their community and affecting their property values) by using a dummy corporation and purposely misleading people about what their plans for the site were.

Rob 12:38 PM  

Grand Old,

Be realistic...

Young women don't get kicked out of the house (or worse) for having foot surgery. Thus, the difference in notification regarding the medical procedures you mention.

No one's ever claimed abortion wasn't a medical procedure. What they've said is that the medical right to privacy ought to apply to it, in the interest of protecting young women from those who would do them harm if they learn of their sexuality.


Sam, mighty convenient that you offer absolutely no proof for your shoddy, partisan claims about medical safety.

Or, perhaps you are one of the many people who disagree with the so-called med-mal "reform" many conservatives advocate and hope to see the get-off-scot-free punishment caps removed in the interest of public safety and medical responsibility.

Skeeter 1:05 PM  

This sounds like more of the nanny-state to me. They said it is a medical building. It is. Beyond that, it none of the town's business. Don't like the business? Don't patronize it.

However, the nanny-government wants to know EXACTLY what will be done on the premises. I suspect GOP is going to require them to provide a count of the paperclips and post-its, just so that the government knows it all. Maybe they can just put a camera in every room. That will please GOP.

It is too bad conservatives can't get big government off our backs.

grand old partisan 1:32 PM  

Rob –

What if the child’s fears of severe punishment are unfounded, and their parents might actually be a vital sources of support and counsel? I think that the law is doing more harm to that child by helping her keep a haunting, festering secret from her parents.

Consider: there are 20 states with parental consent laws on the books right now. Can you direct me to the statistics that substantiate your claim that girls are routinely abandoned or abused by their parents as a result? If not, why are you supporting a policy of protecting the few at the expense of harming the many?

Consider, as well: if we are to assume that parents would kick their daughter to the curb (or worse) for being sexually active, couldn’t we also reasonably assume that parents might do the same to kids who do drugs, or otherwise run afoul of the law? How about parents who might abuse their kids for getting bad grades? Dismiss this as a “slippery slope,” if you want, but when it comes to giving kids legal cover for hiding things from their parents, isn’t it a bit arbitrary to draw the line at abortion?

Child abuse and neglect is illegal in all 50 states. If a child has a reasonable fear that their parent(s) will kick them to the curb or abandon them, there are several steps they can take to protect themselves. And if a parent is that unreasonable and the family really that unstable, isn’t the child better off taking those steps, instead of hiding something and remaining in that precarious household?

Families are the building blocks of society. Our laws should help sustain nurturing families, not aid in their destruction.

grand old partisan 2:03 PM  


This isn’t a “nanny state” issue, it’s about public disclosure – something I thought you progressives supported. If I may borrow a page from your rhetorical playbook: why require them to even disclose that it’s a medical building? Why does people who own property around the site have a right to know what is going in there? Why not just let people buy land and build whatever the hell they want on it?

The law requires developers to disclose their plans for a site because the community has a right to know. Planned Parenthood actively sought to mislead the community, in blantant violation of the spirit of the law.

Skeeter 2:18 PM  

Sure public disclosure is important -- when it comes to what the government is spending money on. But to say the least, progressives strongly believe that what goes on behind closed doors is none of the goverment's business.

They should be required to disclose it is a medical building to make sure that it isn't a retail building or a factory or a farm or a residence. It is enough to say "patients will be going in this place for treatment."

It is a medical center. What difference does it make to you what kinds of procedures are performed there?

Medical providers are already regulated and licensed in Illinois. This spot was zoned for a medical center. That's all the town needs to know.

The people around don't need to know for the reason that what goes on inside is none of their business.

But for you nanny-staters, that's not good enough, is it? You want to know what everybody else is doing. Which is interesting since so many Republicans get busted recently doing things behind closed doors (or in airports or in Florida parks) that they shouldn't be doing.

steve schnorf 2:39 PM  

government is frequently about protecting the few from the many. That's much of what the Bill of Rights is about.

In this case the few (planned parenthood) aren't trying to tell the many(debateable about whether they really are the "many") how to live their lives, they simply want to be left alone to pursue their legal activities. That doesn't sound like to much to ask.

grand old partisan 2:51 PM  


“What difference does it make to you what kinds of procedures are performed there?”

Well, it apparently makes enough of a difference that you think there should be a different set of laws and regulations applied if that procedure happens to be abortion.

This is the point I articulated in my original post. The idea that abortion is not just another “medical” procedure has been a long held position of those who are now claiming that there is no difference an abortion clinic and a podiatrist’s office.

grand old partisan 2:58 PM  

steve -

I didn’t say that we shouldn’t be “protecting the few from the many.” I said that we shouldn’t be “protecting the few at the expense of harming the many.”

There’s a crucial difference there, and I don’t think that the later is what the Bill of Rights is about.

Skeeter 3:22 PM  


I'm not clear on your post.
What makes you believe that I believe that Planned Parenthood should be treated differently from any other entity?

With regard to the arguments made by people elsewhere -- you got me. You created a straw man. You claim people made those arguments and to be blunt, I don't have a clue in the world what you are referring to.

grand old partisan 4:09 PM  


Minors cannot undergo medical procedures without parental consent. Pro-choice advocates, including Planned Parenthood, have long stipulated that abortion should not be subject to standard parental consent requirements because it involves so many non-medical considerations (clue: this is the point rob made earlier this afternoon). It’s disingenuous, then, for Planned Parenthood to claim that they are merely performing “medical” services on par with podiatry or internal medicine. Either their application to develop a “medical building” was based on insufficient, if not downright misleading, information, or they have just given away their standard anti-parental consent talking point.

Which is it?

Skeeter 4:26 PM  

I fail to see the relevance of the consent argument. Saying that consent may or may be necessary does not change the fact that they offer medical procedures.

Some medical procedures should require parental consent and others should not. A broken bone should be treated without parental consent. Are you claiming that an orthopedic surgeon needs some sort of special zoning?

Further, you should read your own post. Planned Parenthood references "plastic surgery." The zoning covers medical centers that perform surgery. The only difference here is that you don't like that surgery.

"GOP doesn't like these people" does not equate with "these people are guilty of fraud."

grand old partisan 4:47 PM  


The relevance of the consent argument is that pro-choice advocates, including Planned Parenthood, had previously maintained that the inherently non-medical considerations surrounding abortion justify the procedure’s exception from standard consent requirements. In other words, abortion was about more than just medicine. So say that their services are simply “medical,” in the same sense as, say, orthopedic or plastic surgery (which are bound by all the regulations of medical procedures), is, again, inadequate at best or misleading at worse. That’s why "these people are guilty of fraud.”

You don’t even have to be pro-life to agree, just intellectually honest.

Skeeter 5:04 PM  

Let me get this right:

GOP believes that the town should have a special zoning classication for centers that provide birth control and abortion.

However, despite the fact that the town has no such zoning requirement, you believe that Planned Parenthood should bring it to the town's attention so that the town can create such a zoning classification.

The failure to notify the town of the potential new classification is, according to GOP, fraud.

That seems to sum up your argument pretty well.

The zoning allows plastic surgery centers, which provide counseling as to the impact of the surgery. So does Planned Parenthood.

Again, the only difference here is that GOP doesn't mind plastic surgery, but he doesn't like Planned Parenthood.

And if you were intellectually honest,you would agree.

Skeeter 5:09 PM  

Following up:

You say that orthods are bound by regulation of medical procedures.

Are you telling me that if a child came into an orthopedic surgeon's office after the child had fallen off a bike, and the child's arm was broken and needed immediate care, the orthopedic surgeon would just let the child sit?

There are different rules for consent depending on the nature of the issue. The fact that orthopods, ER doctors, emergency room doctors, internists, and doctors providing reproductive services may have different consent requirements doesn't mean that zoning should treat them differently. And if it did, that would be up to the town to create such zoning, which hasn't been done.

grand old partisan 8:17 AM  

Skeeter –

Let me try – one more time – to spell this out for you and make sure we’re on the same page:

Planned Parenthood believes that no minor seeking an abortion (or any other ‘reproductive health’ service) should ever be compelled to tell her parents, even if there is absolutely no reason to think that it might lead to parental maltreatment or abuse - Correct?

In discussing their new Aurora facility, they have suggested that their clinic is no different than a podiatrist, general internist or plastic surgeon’s office – Correct?

Well, if Planned Parenthood really believes that abortion is such a sensitive and potentially explosive thing, that it could even lead parents to harm or abandon their own children, then isn’t it disingenuous to compare it podiatry or plastic surgery? After all, as Rob so eloquently stated, “young women don't get kicked out of the house (or worse) for having foot surgery.”

If you think that local residents and property owners don’t have a right to know that the new “medical building” going up down the block will be offering services that can raise these kinds of familial issues, then I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Skeeter 8:57 AM  

First, I'm still not clear on your distinction. There are different levels of consent required for different medical treatment. That's been pretty well established. The fact that they seek a different level of consent is not material.

Further, the zoning code set up the classifications. Planned Parenthood fits in the indicated classification.

Don't like it? Change the zoning code.

Further, it is interesting that you would use the term "explosive." Given the record of abortion opponents, that may be part of the reason that they didn't volunteer more information. As a resident, I would be far more concerned about the "explosive" issue than what actually goes in the building.

grand old partisan 2:07 PM  

skeeter -

There are only two levels of consent required for medical treatment of minors, with one exception. Consent is needed for all non-urgent care, and not needed for immediate, life-saving care. The exception – which is based more on judicial decisions than any medical considerations – is “reproductive health” care.

I am merely pointing out with this post that, for the purposes of debating parental consent policy, Planned Parenthood maintains that abortion should be exempt from standard medical consent regulations because of reasons that make their operations sound more like “social services” than purely medical care (ie, prevention of possible “parental maltreatment or abuse”); on the other hand, for the purposes of development disclosure, they say that their clinic is no different than a podiatrists office. If you can’t see the double standard there, it’s probably because you don’t want to.

As for your comment on my use of the term “explosive,” I concede that it was a poorly chosen word. I certainly don’t condone violence towards abortion practitioners, and I was pleased to see that the protesters in Aurora have conducted a peaceful and respectful demonstration.

bill,  6:03 AM  

OpenlineBlog.com has some interesting developments on the investigation into the approval process for the clinic.


Rob 11:00 AM  

Grand Old writes, "Child abuse and neglect is illegal in all 50 states. If a child has a reasonable fear that their parent(s) will kick them to the curb or abandon them, there are several steps they can take to protect themselves. And if a parent is that unreasonable and the family really that unstable, isn’t the child better off taking those steps, instead of hiding something and remaining in that precarious household?"

True enough. Perhaps then you agree with Representative John Fritchey and others who have proposed that parental notification laws allow priests, judges and other child well-being advocates to be alternative informed-consenters.

That, of course, is a notion that most conservative partisans completely disagree with -- see, "Stanek, Jill".

Talk about trying to be intellectually honest.

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