This is an interesting abortion issue. It touches on a few critical issues that have been brought up repeatedly in other abortion debate threads, specifically: 1) right of the woman/young mother to choose; 2) limits of responsibility/legal authority of the biological father to the unborn child; 3) limit of the parent's legal responsibility to the teenaged mother(/father).
IMO, the parents are both right and wrong in this case. Yes, they have every right to insist that their daughter take responsibility for her actions, i.e., having unprotected sex resulting in an unexpected pregnancy. But they're wrong in taking their daughter's car away assuming, of course, that their daughter owns the vehicle.
The parent's certainly have every right to be upset with their daughter. As parents, we try as best we can to "train them up in the way they should go". A large part of that training involves teaching our children about sex and the consequences that come with taking part in this very personal, emotional, physical act. Therefore, it's understandable if the parents are angry at their daughter for violating their trust in her that she would do the right thing and protect herself against an unwanted pregnancy of which the first step is abstinence; and if you can't abstain from having sex the next best thing is to take precautions and use birth control - condoms anyone?
Clearly, the parents are upset about the whole situation and rightly so. Legally, their hands are tied somewhat. On the one hand, (in most states) you can't kick your child out of your home if he/she is under 16 years of age. That's the case here in AL where a 16 yr old can drop out of high school without the parent's permission. However, a 16 yr old child can get married with their parent's permission. The question I've often asked myself is, "What sense does that make"? It's as if the law tries to cut it both ways for the child, i.e., you're old enough to make some decisions on your own but not others. Makes it tough on a parent to know where their legal responsibility begins and ends. But therein lay the problem. Sometimes, it's not the legality of the situation that's in question; it's the moral dilemma that you wrestle to resolve. So, for the parents the issue is where does my moral obligation to care for the irresponsible act of another begin and end? Put in a more blunt and forceful way: Why should I have to pay for my teenaged daughter's (or son's) mistake when clearly they've decided to ignore or otherwise undermine my position of authority? That's the million dollar question both my wife and I along with my ex-wife had to grappble with involving both our teenaged daughters.
My biological daughter was 17 when she informed her mother and I of her teen pregnancy. My ex-wife and I grappbled with the same moral dilemma the parents of this teenaged mother-to-be are now trying to resolve. It wasn't easy, but we both realized that the abortion decision was our daughter's despite the fact that she and her newborn child would very likely be living with my ex. (Note: The question of sending my daughter to live with me was never brought up probably because my daughter had previously lived with me and she knew that I already had a full house w/my son, two step-children and a young daughter of my own at the time. Still, my wife and I would have taken her in without question because she is my child.) This decision was borne out of our own experience. My ex and I aborted what would have been our third child when our two children were still very young. We did so with the understanding that we couldn't afford to have another child. For us, it was the right decision despite the fact that we still look back on the experience from time to time with some trepidation. My current wife also had her own abortion experience. Thus, the three parents involved were able to share lots of life experience with "our" daughter. Her decision: go forward with the birth. That was 9 yrs ago and for her it was the right decision to make. My daughter born one fine young man as her son, my grandson who is also my name sake. (She named him after me. ) Still, I remember the discussion her mother and I had on this issue most of which revolved around how our daughter would raise the child, finish high school and if my ex was strong enough to help raise another child. Optimum word here "help". You see, it was well established that my daughter would take responsibility to provide for and raise this child on her own as much as possible. If it cried in the middle of the night, she would see to its needs. Even if grandma woke she would give the child to its mother to feed, change a diaper, tend to a fever or teething matter. Babysitting was only conducted if our daughter was at school or at work. Rarely did my ex babysit for the sake of our daughter going out just to hang with friends. My daughter learned very quickly that she was now a mother and she took responsibility for her child. Today, she's 26, married with four children of her own and doing well.
So, what's the point of my post? Only this: Being pro-choice doesn't absolve one from her (or his) responsibilities where unexpected pregnancy is concerned. It only means that we acknowledge that the mother (in consult with the father) has choices...options as it were, and abortion is just one of them. Raise the child as your own or adoption being the other two. Did my ex-wife and I, as well as my current wife, know this when we went through our abortion experiences? Yes. But the option of adoption wasn't available to either of us and for atleast one of us. Worst yet for my wife, her situation very closely mirrored that of the teenaged mother-to-be in the OP. She wasn't given much of a choice to raise what would have been her first child while still living w/her grandparents.
For what it's worth, I understand the parent's hurt and anger. I've experienced the range of emotions on this very topic myself. In the end, it's really about the teen mother taking responsibility for her actions. For what right does the teenaged child or the legal system have to force the responsibility in whole or in part unto another? This is a segway into the second-half of my story: the 16 year old high school dropout. You see, sometimes despite a law's best intensios, the law remains somewhat flawed. How is it that the system can force me to maintain responsibility for the actions of teenager who lives under my roof but wants to act as if he/she is an adult? Those young teenages between the ages of 16-21 have been made to believe they can live life with limited accountability. To me, that's wrong. It's why in my house, my children - those who are 16 yrs old and older - all know that "if you commit the crime, legally or morally, you do the time". They know they must face the consequences of their actions and take responsibility for what they do or don't do as may be the case when they know they should act accordingly. Hence, the reason why my 16 yr old step-daughter was no longer allowed to live under my roof when she dropped out of high school and refused to get a job and pay her way. After living with her biological father for a time, she quickly learned that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. She's 22 now but she's been gainfully employed since turning 17 and recently moved into her own home.
I'm very proud of my children, particularly my daughters. They've gone through alot, much of it self-imposed misery, but they're both better for it mostly because they've learned from making their own decisions - right, wrong or indifferent. And that's something I'll never take away from them - their right to choose as God Himself imparted to us all - free will.
Last edited by Objective Voice; 02-23-13 at 08:16 PM.
You seem to be suggesting that God's gift of free will is some kind of endorsement of our current law that allows us to kill our unborn children. Do I have your right?
Even in a paradigm of free will, I have the freedom to go burn down an orphanage with all the kids in it. No divine hand will reach down from the heavens and stop me. If there is divinity, however, I can probably expect to find out the consequences of my abuse of free will once I am probably executed for this unlawful action...
The problem, then, for the religious, is figuring out what actions that are "sinful" but should not be managed by earthly law.
Homicide, at least aggressive homicide, is generally one of those things that is both sinful (Thou shalt not) and also unlawful. And with good reason. The dead have been wronged. The perpetrator has demonstrated a lack of respect for the rights of others, and the perpetrator is entirely likely to kill again. So in this case, there should be earthly justice whether or not there is divine justice.
And there generally is.
At least, until the homicide victim is completely helpless and completely innocent, and then our legal system right now says it's okay.
You do not have the ability to allow or deny free will, this is from God. You do have the ability to allow or deny based on law, in that you have a voice and a vote. You could vote to limit or eliminate the abortion option.
So you have the ability to take away some things, but not the free will God imparted to us all. Your message above is a rational argument for your "pro-choice" stance. You end it with the statement that you would never take away "their right to choose" as imparted by God (free will). You say specifically, "their right to choose." You did not say you would never take away "their free will" as God imparted to us all.
You qualify "Their right to choose" with the free will God imparted to us all.
You do seem to be equating the free will God gave us, with the right to choose abortion.
We currently allow the killing of unborn children by law. We once allowed the owning of other persons by law. Neither one is right. (have you ever noticed we naturally justify these kinds of actions by making a case that the victim is somehow less than a human being?) Although we have the free will to do these things as an individual or as a nation state, we still do evil with our free will choices at times, and this is one of those times.