PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT LAWS: A POPULAR BAD POLICY. Phoebe Maltz makes a good point about laws requiring that women under 18 get parental consent before obtaining an abortion. Why is it a good idea for state policy to increase the number of teenage mothers? This is particularly true of David Brooks, who thinks that pre-viability abortions should be legal. Why on earth would we want to make it harder for the group for whom unplanned children extract the greatest cost to terminate an unwanted pregnancy?

We can argue about whether parental involvement laws should be constitutional (I will concede that they have the strongest constitutional case of the common abortion regulations). But between the arbitrary application of bypass provisions, the fact that they're usually superfluous for young women in stable loving families and dangerous to young women with bad family relationships, and the fact that their primary concrete effect is increasing the number of teenage mothers, they're certainly appallingly bad public policy.

--Scott Lemieux

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