Medical Ethics PHIL 148 @ Binghamton University, Sum 11


News Article- High school health center aiding in abortion?


This is a pretty interesting news article. a woman from Seattle, WA, referred to as Jill in the article, is furious that 15-year-old daugher, with the help of Ballard high school's health center, had an abortion during school hours. Jill did not know or give consent to her daughter's abortion, as an individual can obtain an abortion at any age in the state of Washington. During school hours, Jill's daughter was sent in a gab to have an abortion, which was free of charge provided that Jill's daughter kept it strictly confidential.

This is a relatively short article, but brings about many issues that are worth discussing. One of those issues is one of autonomy; does the daughter, at only 15, have enough of a right to make a decision such as abortion without the consent of her parents? Legally, she does in the state of Washington, but does she morally? Is this a matter she should have discussed with her mother simply out of good virtue, or does the mother have no say as it is the daughter's body, therefore the daughter's choice? Furthermore, does it seem as if the daughter is rewarded for keeping her abortion secret? She was rid of any financial responsibility on the grounds that she keeps the abortion confidential.

In considering the daughter's  right to her own body, Thomson's example with the violinist immediately came to mind. Although that example is way more extreme than the one in this article, both share the question of the extent of one's rights over their own body. In this case, the mother feels that she should have known about the abortion, that her rights in the situation were taken away, and that she should have been given the power of consent over the decision. After all, her daughter is still a child at only 15 years old However, Washington's legal standing on abortion makes the daughter a consenting adult in making a decision. Should there have been more respect for the mother in the decision-making process, or was the health center right in allowing the daughter to make her own decision and leave her mother on the outside of knowing?

It's also very interesting that Jill's daughter is a pro-life advocate who decided to have an abortion. I always felt that someone doesn't truly know how he/she feel about a situation until he/she is actually in that situation. Perhaps the daughter felt that she was pro-life, but changed her mind upon becoming pregnant at such a young age. What do you think? Do you think someone can be a pro-life advocate and still support abortion?

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