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June 26, 2016

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http://www.snopes.com/harvard-flaw-review/

The Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy describes itself as "one of the most widely circulated student-edited law reviews and the nation’s leading forum for conservative and libertarian legal scholarship."

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Not to mention one of the authors is from the Pacific Research Institute, "a California-based free-market think tank which promotes "the principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility" through policies that emphasize a free economy, private initiative, and limited government."

Please take just one pressing social, political, or cultural issue we debate here all the time and spell out the so-called moderate position.

I suppose you are right. A blog that calls itself "the voice of moderation" probably should have some examples readily to hand.

So here's a preliminary idea on everybody's favority fraught topic: abortion.

Every abortion is a tragedy. While it is not a good choice, it is sometimes the least bad choice. Therefore it should not be illegal. (And there are none of the cute restrictions and required notifications that have been invented to discourage it.) The only restrictions concern the cases where the fetus is viable without massive medical intervention. (The exact definition of "massive" subject to discussion.)

While abortion should not be illegal, that doesn't change the fact that Roe v Wade was a disaster for the abortion rights movement (not to mention being IMHO garbage as constitutional law). At the time, abortion was gradually becoming legal across the country. And legalization was supported by even conservative religious groups, for example the Southern Baptist Convention. (Imagine that! If you only came of age in the last 2-3 decades, you probably cannot.)

Given that every abortion is a tragedy, the right thing to do is to make them as rare as possible. Major step one: make contraception as readily available as possible. First: cheap -- including available at no charge under all medical insurance plans, including Medicaid.

Second, no restrictions (none!) on who can get it. That means, no, parents don't get a veto, or even a notification, if their child wants it. If the parents don't like it, they can teach their children their own views on not using it. Probably work about as well as abstinence-only seems to work now, but tough.

That's not to say that this is the only moderate view on the subject. Just that it is an example of a moderate view of it.

I found it interesting, the immediate comparison to Russia certainly confirmed my bias that aggressive gun control doesn't reduce violent crime.

It is also interesting that the first criticism here was

that's when i wasn't thinking "wow, this paper really wants to assume that all countries are equal in every way except for their gun laws! Luxembourg vs the US?"

a defense usually used by the 2nd amendment advocates to pooh pooh statistics trying to show how effective gun control is.

the immediate comparison to Russia certainly confirmed my bias that aggressive gun control doesn't reduce violent crime.

OK, I don't know that gun-control advocates claim that doing so will reduce crime, per se. So let's move on from "violent crime" to actual deaths. (Splitting out "deaths during the commission of a crime" and "suicide" might be enlightening, too.) Do those go down with gun control?

I found it interesting, the immediate comparison to Russia certainly confirmed my bias that aggressive gun control doesn't reduce violent crime.

...in Russia.

Russia is not the US. the authors of that paper just compared bottom-line totals across different countries and declared "See! Gun control doesn't work!" as if there aren't any other factors in play. they do mention this shortcoming in their approach, in the back stretch of their paper, but they handwave it away.

Luxembourg has a population of roughly a half a million. Murder rates per 100,000 can vary widely based on a relatively small number of events occurring in given years. I might as well note that Luxembourg had 1/1000th as many murders as did the United States in whatever year to demonstrate who much safer it is.

And the fact is that, guess what!, the cited murder rate was the result of a misplaced decimal point. The murder rate in Luxembourg was 0.9, not 9. Wow. That's some serious, academically rigorous work in that paper. (Does it come on convenient rolls for ease of use?)

That means, no, parents don't get a veto, or even a notification, if their child wants it.

Then parents should not be held responsible for dealing with any adverse outcomes due to the abortion.

Charles, that was regarding parential veto/notification for contraception.

Charles, that was regarding parential veto/notification for contraception.

Noted. But the point still holds. If the state is going to sanction activities by children behind their parents' backs, then the state should be held accountable for any complications that arises from those activities.

Which complications are you talking about?

Seriously. I am not aware of significant negative consequences that stem from contraception. Perhaps you can enlighten me.

The state providing contraception to teenagers without parental approval comes close to sanctioning engaging in sex without parental approval. If the teenager gets pregnant anyway or has other health complications, perhaps the state should be on the hook for any medical/other expenses incurred.

Condoms Don’t Necessarily Help Teen Girls Avoid Pregnancy: According to a new study, distribution in schools can actually increase fertility rates. Can alternative policies be more effective?

The state providing contraception to teenagers without parental approval comes close to sanctioning engaging in sex without parental approval.

Have you looked at the numbers on teenagers having sex without parental approval? (Are there figures on teenagers having sex, specifically sex without contraception, with parental approval?)

How would "state sanctioning" it make any difference at all?

How would "state sanctioning" it make any difference at all?

Perhaps not much at all. But the state is still inserting itself into the relationship between parent and child.

And the state isn't already inserted there? I think you will find that the laws on child abuse restrict how a parent can deal with a child. And, for some parents, really severely restrict them from what they believe is the right way to deal with their child.

Well, contraceptives can have adverse health effects depending on the use and the the user. In particular hormonal ones should not be used without a medical professional doing a check now and then.

On the other hand it is quite easy to kill oneself with simple headache pills (in a very unpleasant way). In Germany it is now illegal to sell paracetamol in package sizes containing more than 10 g total because some people tend to take not one or two pills but the whole package in one go.

Given how bad sex ed is in some regions I would actually support a policy of 'no sales to anyone without instructions and a written test of understanding said instructions'. Yes, some people eat the condoms (and the suppositories)or put the pill into their lady parts (or think that they are taken one hour before or maybe after sex, not daily).

I think you will find that the laws on child abuse restrict how a parent can deal with a child.

The law should protect children, like everyone else, from harm from others whether those doing the harm are parents or not.

But it seems to be becoming increasingly legally dangerous to be a parent.

Free-Range Kids: Wondering if you can let your kids walk to the park or wait in the car for a few minutes—legally?

Here's what we learned this week.

If you are black and unarmed, the police will gun you down in a hail of bullets.

If you are black and carrying a toy weapon, you will be gunned down in a hail of bullets.

If you are black and carrying an illegal real weapon in your pocket, you will be gunned down in hail of bullets, the hail originating from six inches away.

This morning, if you are black and carrying a licensed weapon and you tell the police you are doing so, you will be gunned down in a hail of bullets.

If you are black and moving toward a police officer you will be gunned down in a hail of bullets.

If you are black and moving away from a police officer, even at speed, you will be gunned down in hail of bullets.

If you are black and you sit or stand still you will be gunned down in hail of bullets.

If you are white and do any f*cking thing you want with a weapon, like NRA vermin, or the Bundys, or the Oaf Keepers do, the police will gun down the nearest black man in a hail of bullets.

But it's because blacks aren't raised right and the all of the whites doing the shooting have been raised properly.

There will be savage violence coming against the white conservative gun and law enforcement culture unlike anything this country has ever imagined.

Someone write up a monograph on the subject so we can spend another year or so chewing it over before the killing starts.

No one was gunned down in a hail of bullets, unfortunately, but then there were no blacks or Mexicans on hand to shoot at.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-meeting-house-republicans-combative

The state providing contraception to teenagers without parental approval comes close to sanctioning engaging in sex without parental approval.

CharlesWT, I gather from glancing at your condoms link that teens in this context are 15-19. Perhaps I misunderstand US society, but I don't think we are that different, and it seems to me that teenagers almost always engage in sex without parental approval. Perhaps I have misunderstood you, but do you really think that they should therefore not have access to contraception? And if you are worried about parents being "on the hook" for repercussions of unsanctioned activities, should parents not be responsible for medical expenses etc necessitated by unsanctioned climbing on walls, jumping into rivers, and other such activities?

"should parents not be responsible for medical expenses etc necessitated by unsanctioned climbing on walls, jumping into rivers, and other such activities?"

Only if the government puts up a sign that says "Jump into river here" and provides a life vest. In the US, if you do that the parents can sue you if they haven't given permission.

As I understand it, the proposal is not to encourage teens to have sex, but to try to prevent pregnancy if they decide to do it. Most teens want to have sex - as far as I know they need no encouragement, and high teen-pregnancy rates are the result.

In the absence of signs saying "Jump into river here", you seem to be saying parents can sue if you (or the school, or some government program) have taught the kid to swim.

Is teaching kids how to swim encouraging them to go jump into a raging river where they may drown anyway? Or is it just giving them a way to survive when in the water, however they end up there?

Is teaching kids how to swim encouraging them to go jump into a raging river where they may drown anyway? Or is it just giving them a way to survive when in the water, however they end up there?

My point exactly. And if you have not encouraged them to jump in, but have taught them a way to survive in the water however they end up there, should parents either a) be able to sue you for doing so or b) be able to avoid responsibility for any medical etc expenses caused by immersion in the river?

If you tell your kid to go jump in the lake, make sure they don't trip over all of the other kids spooning in the bushes along the shore and leaving their condoms all over the place.

If you want to baptize your kids down at the river and expect them to not have sex as a result, hold them under longer.

He thought the reporter was Gretchen Carlson:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-winks-might-not-be-president

no, swimming lessons are like health class, you teach them all the bad things that can happen and a few tips and tricks.

If you then arm them with contraception you are telling them it is now safe. No matter what words you use with that. Like giving them a life jacket to jump into the raging river.

The challenge is that, unlike parents, government programs cant make any judgement on whether that's best to do at 10, 12, 13 or 15. At least with parental notification they would have a better idea of the right things to say at the point in time for the individual child's maturity level.

If you then arm them with contraception you are telling them it is now safe

when's the last time you were in a health class ?

Say rather, it is like teaching kids to swim.

And then putting (free) life jackets in a box near the water. Not to suggest that it is safe to put on a jacket and swim, no matter what the conditions. But to improve the odds that, IF the kids decide to swim, they will survive the experience.

If you then arm them with contraception you are telling them it is now safe.

No, you are telling them that if they use this contraception correctly, they will almost certainly not get pregnant, and if it is a barrier method, they will almost certainly not get a STD. Don't forget Marty (and CharlesWT), we are not talking about pressing contraception on kids who have not expressed a wish for it. wj said:

Major step one: make contraception as readily available as possible. First: cheap -- including available at no charge under all medical insurance plans, including Medicaid.

Second, no restrictions (none!) on who can get it. That means, no, parents don't get a veto, or even a notification, if their child wants it.

..., but do you really think that they should therefore not have access to contraception?

I think teenagers should have access to contraception. I'm just not sure that state run in loco parentis institutions should be providing it.

American Teens Having Less Sex According To Study

GftNC, That may be what you are saying but, depending on the child, that is unlikely what they are hearing. The distinction on whether we are talking about pressing contraception on children is a distinction without a point.

I think at 13 the parents get notified. At 16 not so much. There needs to be a year that we believe that most of these kids are mature enough to understand consequences. I just don't think that mean no restrictions.

And if you have not encouraged them to jump in, but have taught them a way to survive in the water however they end up there, should parents either a) be able to sue you for doing so or b) be able to avoid responsibility for any medical etc expenses caused by immersion in the river?

This is the parents job, not the government. If the government gets to decide what and when they get this information and access then the government takes on the parental responsibility.

Not a hard concept. Except today we have less respect for parents than we do for teachers.

I seem to be italicised whatever I do, so my solution is:

1. Marty: The distinction on whether we are talking about pressing contraception on children is a distinction without a point.


Me: I don't think so. If we are not pressing it on them, but only giving it to them if they make an approach to get it, it shows they are already thinking of having sex, and if they go ahead, and don't have contraception, they are risking a lot of life-changing physical repercussions (there will be emotional repercussions either way). I agree that the age question is problematic, but in the absence of any satisfactory answer (and I don't think reporting them to their parents is one) if they are thinking of having sex, they are safer with contraception than without it.

2. Marty, quoting me: And if you have not encouraged them to jump in, but have taught them a way to survive in the water however they end up there, should parents either a) be able to sue you for doing so or b) be able to avoid responsibility for any medical etc expenses caused by immersion in the river?

Marty, as himself: This is the parents job, not the government. If the government gets to decide what and when they get this information and access then the government takes on the parental responsibility.

Me: I disagree that this is only the parents' job. The range of parents is too wide, and too many of them are bad: ignorant, bigoted, selfish, cruel or just plain neglectful. Teaching children how to swim in case they fall in water, or teaching them there are means of avoiding pregnancy and disease if they have sex, and making these means available to them if they ask for them, seem to me the actions of a sensible, civilised society with a care to all its citizens, of whatever age.

Marty, if we are going to say that the moderate position is to leave decisions about contraception for teenagers to the parents, we really ought to say something about how well that works.

In general, that demand seems to come from parents whose (strong) preference is that their kids just not have sex. And, therefore, have no need for contraceptives. (Or sex education, for that matter.)

My distinct impression is that abstinence-only has a pretty poor track record. Not because the method itself doesn't work well for contraception, but because it doesn't actually get implemented consistently in a rather large number of cases.

You can argue that parents should be able to decide that they would rather that their children end up pregnant than that those children get access to contraceptives without their approval. But that IS what you are arguing.

"If we are not pressing it on them, but only giving it to them if they make an approach to get it, it shows they are already thinking of having sex,"

They are thinking of having sex quite early, and often, speaking for the boys only. Knowing they can get contraception with no limitations certainly is likely to turn thinking into action earlier. It is unreasonable to expect that that is not a barrier to actually having sex.

As for bad parents, until there is a test given, they should retain the first rights on how to raise their child. Barring due process, the state has no standing to coopt parenting because you don't like how they are doing it. Teaching them anything is up to the parent, not the state, many kids are home schooled because the parents don't like what the state teaches or how. Providing them with what is clearly medical advice and access without the parents knowledge is just even a step beyond.

I wore water wings the first time I had sex.

Or, was that when I went over Niagara Falls the first time?

I can't remember now.

"At least with parental notification .."

I didn't send a telegram to my mother the first time I had sex, but then I didn't hear a peep out of her regarding the subject before that anyway.

Neither did my sisters, because I asked one of them years later. Their periods, yes. Sex? No.

My Dad tried to sit me down for the Ted Talk on the spacious back porch one night when I was maybe 12. It was so dark all I could make out from 15 feet away was the lit end of the cigarette he was smoking.

It's the only time in my life that I heard a person literally hem and haw, as in "Hem, haw" and then "Haw hem", with the occasional intervening "erp".

Ten minutes went by and I don't think he even made a proper introduction about what we were talking about, but I knew of course, and he knew I knew, like a character in a play knows because I had rehearsed the scene, nodding affirmatively at every hem but wondering how graphic this might get, but not really having any sense of what the graphics might be, especially on the girl end of things.

Suddenly, my mother came to the door, like maybe they had decided on a signal beforehand if he found the going tough, and announced a business associate was on the phone.

I thought my Dad got out the porch chaise lounge a little more spryly and hastily than usual and he said, "we'll come back to this later" which never happened.

I'm not sure who was more relieved.

I had a girlfriend all through high school, but we never got any farther than heavy petting and very badly chapped lips and other well-known symptoms of delayed gratification.

Didn't actually have sex until a sophomore in college with a girl I was absolutely crazy about.

But I was still naive about the physical properties of the opposite, contradictory gender, mystery at one time being the main charm.

Once I asked her, "Do all women have their periods at the same time", like maybe the moon and the tides came into play and my girlfriend and Golda Meir and Joni Mitchell were all in synch.

She laughed and said, "Boys ask the silliest questions!", but note, she didn't actually answer the question.

Which is a whole other mystery.

Years later, when my neighbors and I were raising our kids together (theirs, two girls, and ours a boy) the Mom told us that she had the talk with their oldest daughter, and the girl's response to the main fact was "That is SOOOOOOooo gross!!"

But, on the other hand, the way we got to know the neighbors years earlier was that my wife was out of town and I had a softball game one night and they agreed to babysit my son (he was five or six) and at the dinner table they casually asked him what his Dad was up to that evening, and he matter-of-factly stated like the Masters half of Masters and Johnson that I was playing ball and then I and my teammates were going to the bar to drink and have sex, only half of which was true, mind you, but where he got THAT, who knows?

Maybe from the Art Linkletter Show reruns.

One can imagine the silence that momentarily gripped the folks seated around that dinner table, forks of instant macaroni and cheese frozen in midair halfway to their mouths.

The upshot was though that the male parent half of the neighbor household felt an urgent need to get to know me better and find out the name of this bar I frequented and the four of us and our kids have been fast friends ever since.

None of the kids have ever been pregnant nor caused a pregnancy and the three of them are successful as hell.

Marty, I don't think we can agree here, except to differ. I was the confidante to a girlfriend who got pregnant at 13, and we tried to arrange an abortion secretly, from boarding school, during a postal strike when there were no mobile phones and we couldn't get to public phone boxes. It was all pretty agonising, and did not end well. The experience may have influenced me somewhat, but I suspect not. As a child of the sixties, I guess I was always likely to favour maximum sex education, and access to contraception for everyone who wanted it, and to believe that good parents would probably not have children who went behind their backs when "too young", however defined. But as I say, we differ, and that's OK.

"In general, that demand seems to come from parents whose (strong) preference is that their kids just not have sex. And, therefore, have no need for contraceptives. (Or sex education, for that matter.) ...

You can argue that parents should be able to decide that they would rather that their children end up pregnant than that those children get access to contraceptives without their approval. But that IS what you are arguing. "

This is a completely off the wall generalization bearing no relationship to anything that I have said to the point of being insulting.

In fact, I have been clear that access is ok along with notification so the parent knows the child is contemplating sex. in the near future.

But wait, take a breath, yes, parents do have the right for any number of reasons, religious and otherwise, to expect abstinence from their children. You don't get to tell them they are wrong if they are prepared to deal with the consequences of that with their children.

*shaking head*
a literal nanny state

I understand completely GftNC, also as a child of the sixties I have a different view. It certainly shapes my view that reasonable people differ on the subject.

Marty, It was not my intention to be insulting. Apologies if it came out that way.

I believe someone (I thought you, if not apologies again) said earlier that the difference between the state interfering with regard to child abuse and the state interfering with regard to contraception was that the former involved defending the child from harm. Whereas the former, the implication was, the latter did not.

And I submit that getting pregnant while still a teenager is, in fact, harmful. Perhaps not is absolutely every case. But today, in our culture, in the vast majority of cases, it is harmful. (And that doesn't count the negative impact on the child. Which is far from trivial.)

also as a child male of the sixties I have a different view

ftfy

In fact, I have been clear that access is ok along with notification so the parent knows the child is contemplating sex. in the near future.

How exactly is this not expecting the state to act in loco parentis? Your statement is that the parents have the right to require certain behaviors of their children, and that the state has a positive responsibility to not only respect that right, but help enforce said parental judgement thereupon. How is that not the very image of a nanny state?

You made it clear that you don't think state-sanctioned sex ed is compatible with full parental responsibility for their children because it takes away parental control of how, when, in what context, and to what degree they learn about sex (though in fact it merely sets a deadline by which a minimal education will be provided - nothing is stopping the parents from supplementing or caveating it). For someone who is as strong an advocate for the rights of future citizens before they are full citizens - in particular when the parents disagree with the idea of the citizen-to-be having rights - you seem quite willing to leave to chance quality of the education we have collectively decided our future citizens are entitled to as members of our society. That... doesn't seem wholly consistent.

"You made it clear that you don't think state-sanctioned sex ed is compatible with full parental responsibility for their children because it takes away parental control of how, when, in what context, and to what degree they learn about sex (though in fact it merely sets a deadline by which a minimal education will be provided - nothing is stopping the parents from supplementing or caveating it)."

I actually didn't say this. I said that parents have a choice as to whether they have their children attend any state sponsored education, I think sex ed is fine, (although I wonder just how much 10 year olds should get).

as for the first part, bah, that's just playing semantics.

There are lots of things medically that require a parental consent, this wouldn't even require that. The concept that a 12 or 13 year old is mature enough to act as their own agent in medical matters is absurd. The state's obligation is to treat a minor like a minor, requiring parental consent. Everything else is just nanny state taking over for the parent because they "cant do the job effectively".

well, in any case, I'm glad our murder rates compare favorably to kleptocratic failed totalitarian states.

The concept that a 12 or 13 year old is mature enough to act as their own agent in medical matters is absurd.

If I had realized that having sex at an early age was like surgery, I might have done some things differently. Like take my socks off...

Not that I did it at 12 or 13, hell, I wonder if I'm mature enough to do it now...

Teaching kids (OK, actually girls only) to swim IS encouraging them to have sex, at least that is what religious conservatives (often but not exclusively of the Muslim persuasion) argue. And I mean over here in Germany not just in the US. It exposes them to the lusty gaze of others and may even awake lust in them when they see scantily clad people prancing around in the water.
I also remeber calls to ban (not just to not make mandatory) certain kinds of vaccination*. In India the 'compromise' was to only vaccinate the boys against the papilloma virus when a total ban was impossible.

As for parental rights, a few days ago a couple won big in the courts claiming the right to provide NO education at all (including the 3 R's**)to their children and to prevent others to do so in their place since rapture was due any moment and education put the kiddies' souls in danger.

*It was before my time but there were also campaigns against anti-STD drugs because STDs are divine punishment for illicit sex and providing treatment is tantamount to encouraging fornication.
**reading, 'riting, 'rithmetics

Do parents own their kids, yes or no?

Because it sure sounds that's the philosophical underpinning of the divergent opinions here.

Do parents own their kids, yes or no?

He who has the responsibility should have the power.

He who takes the power should also take the responsibility.

But sometimes it is unclear to what extent someone has the power.

For example, on the evidence parents' power to control their teenage children when it comes to sex is, at best, chancy. Certainly when I was growing up, nobody was supposed to have sex before they were married. And there were serious consequences (contraception being essentially unavailable) to doing so. Yet kids did. And some of them got pregnant as a result.

Somehow I doubt that parental control has increased in the intervening decades.

So, the parents don't have the power in this. At least not complete power. Not really. Whatever they might wish (or believe). So does it make sense to give them the power over contraception?

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