Sunday, June 12, 2005

"Father Knows Best" Sometimes!

I grew up with "Father Knows Best", the 'feel-good' 1950's television series starring Robert Young and Jane Wyatt as the mother and father of the Anderson family.

Cast of Father Knows Best

These television shows have moved this culture from just a myth to a new form of American reality that looks to take us backward to a presumed simpler time.

Parents are supposed to always know what is best for their children.

Who can forget the battle between Terri Schiavo's parents and her spouse over her "right to die?"

Photo of Terri and her mother

Clearly, parents and their children can have different priorities and values, including religious beliefs, that can impact their medical care and well-being.

And not always for the best!

The latest report in the failure of parents in handling critical decision-making comes from Texas where parents endangered the life of their daughter by absconding with her after successful initial chemotherapy for Hodgkins Disease. The State of Texas took custody of this young girl and the parents eventually did relent to radiation therapy after the cancer returned.

Meanwhile, in their attempt to deny all women of abortions, Republicans have succeeded in Texas in making it harder for women under 18 to obtain an abortion.

As reported:
Texas already had a parental notification bill, approved in 1999. The new measure requires a parent to provide written consent for unmarried girls under 18.
Once again, religious-rightists have succeeded in endangering the health and welfare of children. The only place a written consent would make a difference is if a parent didn't want a child to have an abortion and refused to consent.

What recourse would a young girl have?

Some of these girls are the victims of of incest and permission must be granted by the perpetrator of that crime! Some women are the victims of violence by parents who are outraged by their daughter's sexuality. Some of these girls will be come victims of backstreeet and unsafe abortionists because of their fear of informing their parents!

As noted by Ira Glasser of the ACLU:
When all else fails, minors need access to abortions as well. One of the most potent and persistent roadblocks we have encountered to minors' rights are parental involvement laws which require minors to notify their parents or get their consent, before they can get an abortion. In many cases, minors cannot approach their parents. In some cases, parents are abusive and in some there have been incidents of incest. In state after state, we have challenged such laws, winning frequent -- if not always complete -- victories.
Wake up America! The Republicans have had a pattern of doing things harmful to children! Republicans have passed cuts for Even Start for illiterate parents. They are advancing cuts for Public Broadcasting, sharply reducing frunds for Sesame Street, Arthur, and Clifford. And above all, this Administration is sending our sons and daughters to a war where thousands of young American men and women are dying needlessly in a war where facts were "fixed" to provide justification. This President offers a Social Security privatization scheme that will result in billions of additional debt on the backs of our children!

America's children deserve better! They deserve the right to privacy. They deserve the right to healthcare, a solvent government, education, clean air, clean water, and safe working environments.

Above all, they deserve a government that is reluctant to go to war, and when it does, protects our soldiers with adequate body armor, armored vehicles, and provides them with adequate benefits when they return as veterans!



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