Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Friday, June 10, 2011

How Rob McKenna's Politics Hurt Women

Posted by on Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 12:15 PM

State Attorney General Rob McKenna, who announced his 2012 bid to wear the governor's pants, reaffirmed his support for parental notification in cases of teenage abortions yesterday in a conversation with Washington is one of only 10 states that doesn't require parental notification.

McKenna did concede that Washington voters support a woman's "basic right to choose," but added:

"I'm like a lot of parents," McKenna said. "When your daughter turns 13 and the mom is kicked out of the examining room for anything related to reproductive health it's troubling for a lot of parents."

Here's the problem: Not all teenagers have trustworthy, loving parents who will support their decisions—including their "right to choose."

Some teenagers come from abusive homes. Some teenagers are the victims of incest. Some teenagers simply fear telling their parents they're pregnant. Regardless of the reason, these teens will feel trapped. And instead of having local access to professional medical care, they'll feel compelled to travel to Oregon, which doesn't have a parental notification law in place (voters rejected an initiative calling for one in 2007). Or they'll do something illegal or harmful, like attempting a self-induced abortion.

And it's worth noting that McKenna is still actively fighting the Affordable Care Act, which will, among other things, protect women against gender discrimination by private insurers and give 100,000 Washington women improved access to family planning services, cervical and breast cancer screenings, and contraception.

“The office of Governor has a huge impact on women’s access to health care,” said Dana Laurent, Political Director for Planned Parenthood Votes Washington, in a press release. “As an advocate for women and families of Washington State, we intend to ask all the candidates what they will do to ensure women’s health and rights are protected.”


Comments (36) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Too many parents of are of the persuasion that they own their children.
Posted by Central Scrutinizer on June 10, 2011 at 12:18 PM · Report this
#1, yes we raise our children, we don't own them. Great point.

My 17 year old was at the doctor and the doctor asked me to leave for a few minutes so he could discuss stuff like drug and alcohol use and his sexual activity level. I was happy to leave, I don't expect my son to be upfront with me about any of that but as it effects his health I was hopeful he'd be honest with the doctor.

I would have been concerned if the doctor didn't discuss this with him.
Posted by upanatm on June 10, 2011 at 12:27 PM · Report this
I agree with the first comment, and would like to add that McKenna is full of bs about parents being kicked out the exam room when the child is 13. My 2 older daughters have wanted me with them for their gyn exams and physicals (for support) and I have always been able to be there for them. Lest you assume that I pressure them into having me there, I do not. I tell them I am perfectly fine waiting for them in the lobby, but it's up to them. I'm always surprised they want me there, b/c that is the last place I'd have wanted my mom when I was their age.
Posted by Duvall-ite on June 10, 2011 at 12:28 PM · Report this
in-frequent 4
McKenna was well-spoken on air today. He should be a more formitable opponent than Dino ever was -- though who knows what the far-right will choose to do.

He really falls apart on the issue of marriage equality, though. His normally reasoned answered just go out the window. When asked about the O-care (as he called it) mandate, he kind of fails as well. It makes me wonder if he is just pandering on these two issues.

Posted by in-frequent on June 10, 2011 at 12:29 PM · Report this
Vince 5
The right wing is wrong for Washington.
Posted by Vince on June 10, 2011 at 12:36 PM · Report this
@2, that's a great point that McKenna and many conservatives miss -- that teenagers may not be honest and forthcoming about important health information if a parent is in the room. I know I wouldn't have been.
Posted by Luckier on June 10, 2011 at 12:38 PM · Report this
My 16 year old also always invited me in. This time, I made her go in alone.
Posted by Reader/Poster on June 10, 2011 at 12:43 PM · Report this
seandr 8
@2: Interesting.

If I achieve my goals as parent, when my kids are teens they'll talk openly with me about sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. but say little to the doctor. No one needs that kind of stuff in their chart.
Posted by seandr on June 10, 2011 at 12:45 PM · Report this
kim in portland 9
I think the doctors started asking me to leave when my kids turned twelve. It isn't an issue, but they were both perplexed, so I explained why I needed to go and the importance of their establishing their own relationship with their physicians.

We're a very open family with regard to the subjects we talk about, and have always felt that education is the best way to protect their innocence. At this stage of their lives we are about transitioning them into adulthood, it is a great stage, and it means stepping back a lot of the time.
Posted by kim in portland on June 10, 2011 at 1:13 PM · Report this
Daddy Love 10
The more that Mckenna adopts the language of radical conservatives, the better. I can't wait for this Tea Party primary challenger.
Posted by Daddy Love on June 10, 2011 at 1:28 PM · Report this
I respect and trust my children's pediatrician. We share a lot of values. I hope my children would be willing feel to talk to me or my wife about anything at all, but just in case they aren't, I'm thrilled that their appointments provide a natural way for them to talk in confidence with someone like their pediatrician.
Posted by Eric from Boulder on June 10, 2011 at 1:28 PM · Report this
@8 Thanks for the thoughts, but it might be a little ambitious to want yourself to be the non-charting adult consultee... Good luck though. Reminds me to remind mine about some of the non-charting resources available to him and his friends if he doesn't want to talk to me.

McKenna's strategy of putting himself forward as the savior of schools is a pretty good one. I forces his opponent to attack the prior administration and the compromises that were made, something that the Dem candidate is going to be very hesitant to do...
Posted by cracked on June 10, 2011 at 1:34 PM · Report this
I would have DIED if my mother had been at my first OBGYN exam—or any of them since, for that matter! But it never occurred to me to ask my mother to go with me. I called up Planned Parenthood when I was 16 or 17, made an appointment, drove myself there and paid myself. Honestly, I thought that's what EVERYONE did! I'm positive I would have refused to go if it meant my mother being in the room at the same time.

Posted by mitten on June 10, 2011 at 1:37 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 14
Oh, now be honest parents: When you take your children to the doctor you are literally kicked out, by jackbooted liberal Islamic thugs, who then give your sons drugs and alcohol and talk to them about homosexual sex and harrangue your daughters about the joy of abortion, right?

It happens each and every day, in every pediatricians office in this country. And it's paid for by Medicare, and a special hidden tax on all Bible believing churches.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on June 10, 2011 at 1:49 PM · Report this
nartweag 15
Why is it that Republicans never seem to understand the concept that all people do not share their same life experiences?
Posted by nartweag on June 10, 2011 at 1:51 PM · Report this
laterite 16
What an asshole.
Posted by laterite on June 10, 2011 at 2:12 PM · Report this
Queen of Sleaze 17
@13 - That was me too... Both of my parents work(ed) for the state and we had great health care coverage so I had easy access to a great physician but by 16 I just wanted to take care of it myself... And I did not want to discuss it with my parents under any circumstances. They are and were extremely supportive of me no matter what but it just made me completely uncomfortable. I imagine that many 13 - 17 year olds feel the same and not giving them the option to remove their parent from the room during gyn exams is deeply disturbing to me for the reasons expressed in other comments (abuse, trauma, etc). Kids need to be feel free to be open with their healthcare providers and the presence of their parent often makes that impossible. And don't even get me started on parental consent for abortions... It would take me ten pages to air my grievances on that subject.
Posted by Queen of Sleaze on June 10, 2011 at 2:13 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 18
First of all, being “trustworthy, loving parents” does not mean supporting each and every decision a teenager makes.

Second, he’s not calling for “parental authorization”, but “parental notification”.

Okay, so some “trustworthy, loving parents” may not be supportive of their teenage daughter’s decision to abort. Others might not support their teenage daughter’s decision to have and raise a child. Either way, “parental notification” of either decision does not mean that the parents can prevent the young lady from having an abortion or force the young lady to have an abortion. Sure, it may force the young lady to have a very difficult conversation with her “trustworthy, loving parents” where she lays out a decision that they don’t agree with. The kind of difficult, adult conversation that people making difficult adult decisions should be capable of having.

I agree that there is a concern if the parents are abusive. But your implication that any parent that does not “support their decisions—including their ‘right to choose’” is abusive is bullshit.

McKenna has been clear that he absolutely supports a method for the courts to intervene in the parental notification process in situations where the parents are abusive. Hell, don’t we really want the courts to know about abusive parents in any event, pending abortion or not?
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on June 10, 2011 at 2:25 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 19

It's so totally reasonable to make teenage girls seek remediation in the courts when they have a few weeks to get an elective abortion, especially when they won't have the funds to hire an attorney.

Fuck off, moron.


I guess you've never heard of doctor-patient confidentiality or HIPPA laws. Doctors want to find out about their patients' lifestyles so they can better treat them.
Posted by keshmeshi on June 10, 2011 at 2:47 PM · Report this
Jessica 20
Quite frankly, there are some otherwise "good" parents who don't deserve to be involved in their children's reproductive health. A couple months ago I had the misfortune to spend an evening with my brother-in-law's co-worker, a woman in her 50s who spoke blithely (and proudly) of her two sons, both of whom had fathered children by age 16. However, her 15-year-old daughter was currently suffering debilitating menstrual cramps and her doctor strongly suggested that she go on the pill to manage her cycle and the pain. This woman's response? "If she just keeps her legs shut, she won't have a problem." Slut-shaming, double standards, and misunderstanding medicine ALL IN ONE.
Posted by Jessica on June 10, 2011 at 2:58 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 21

It would be totally reasonable, in any context, for the doctor to inform the young lady that he has to notify her guardian and ask her if she’s concerned that his doing so will endanger her, and if she says yes, require him to notify the court (or child protective services) in lieu of her guardian and include in that notice that his patient has indicated that her home environment may be abusive. If Physicians are having confidential, frank, conversations with their teenage patients about drug use, alcohol use and sex, they should also be asking “how are things at home (is mommy beating you while daddy rapes you)?” and taking action, when necessary, to protect the child. (That’s why the State funds Child Protective Services).

To write laws that assume that all homes are abusive to protect against the few that are, when those can be handled through exceptions, is fucked up. And Parents being disappointed and upset with poor decision making (being 13 years old, fucking without protection and choosing to abort or give birth) is not abuse, its common sense.

Again, it’s notification. Not Consent.

Fuck off, cunt.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on June 10, 2011 at 3:21 PM · Report this
@1 creepy thing my abusive father used to say "i own you. you're my daughter. i can do anything i want with you." creep.
Posted by novabird on June 10, 2011 at 4:22 PM · Report this
I see.

My daughter can't get an ingrowing toenail operated on without parental consent.

She can't get any other form of medical care than an abortion without that consent.

So, the only thing my daughter can do medically without our consent is murder an infant. You liberals really are frightening in your psychopathy.
Posted by Seattleblues on June 10, 2011 at 5:28 PM · Report this
TheRain 24
@21 might be expressing the point indelicately, but he's absolutely correct. It's elective surgery. I need to know if my daughter is having elective surgery, period.
Posted by TheRain on June 10, 2011 at 5:37 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 25
If you have a good relationship with your daughter, and she trusts you not to be a louse, you don't have to worry about her getting an abortion without your knowledge.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on June 10, 2011 at 6:57 PM · Report this
@24 No, you don't.

@21 How does abortion endanger the teenager? Pregnancy is significantly more dangerous than abortion yet doctors do not have the right to override HIPAA and inform a girl's parents w/o her consent.

@23 Do you believe you have the right as a parent to force your child to carry a pregnancy against her will?
Posted by kersy on June 10, 2011 at 7:25 PM · Report this

Do you believe you have a right to know what medical procedures your child is having? I'm responsible for them in every way until they are of age, the least way of which is financially and the most compelling of which are morally and ethically. So yes, I have a right to know if my minor daughter is having an abortion.

I can't 'force' my kids to do anything at all. I can suggest desirable courses of action. I can encourage them to wise choices. I can discuss with them how I've made exactly that mistake myself, and they could save themselves the costs of it. I can hope that giving them the moral and ethical basis for good decisions will bear fruit.

But both my son and daughter will make mistakes, pay the costs and learn from them. They'll make good choices and learn from them too. Both kids do or will know age appropriate information about their sexuality. And both will make mistakes, but I can hope that ending a childs life for their convenience doesn't number among them.
Posted by Seattleblues on June 10, 2011 at 9:03 PM · Report this
@27 Can't force them to do anything except give up their right to privacy? You being responsible for your children does not mean you own them, their bodily autonomy, their choice, their agency, or their privacy.
Posted by kersy on June 10, 2011 at 9:30 PM · Report this

Kids don't have a right to privacy. It's a priviledge they earn by wise choices and maturity. After they grow up and move out of our house they have that right, but not before.

As an example, the computer the kids use is in the family room. They're allowed to use it for 1 hour each day for entertainment, provided their homework is done and chores are finished. But they aren't allowed to use it in their bedrooms. This will change as they age and show the ability to surf safely, recognize threats and respond appropriately and so on. But for now their privacy gives way to our need to keep them safe.

And I don't for a moment feel I'm oppressing them. I'm doing the most important job I ever will do, being their father, and for that I won't ever apologize to anyone.

Posted by Seattleblues on June 10, 2011 at 10:00 PM · Report this
@29 Last I checked, computers aren't bodies. And, unlike the computers in your home, are not your property. and you don't have the right to know anything about them if the owner of that body deems that you are not privilege to that information.
Posted by kersy on June 10, 2011 at 10:07 PM · Report this
My wife and I have raised 3 children with the youngest being 17. Our rule was no censorship, no phone monitoring and did not shield life from our kids and amazingly enough the challenges we faced were so minimal. I'm more liberal than my wife, but it was a good mix of parenting.
Posted by ttmix on June 10, 2011 at 10:13 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 32
Minors may have a "right" to choose to abort or not to abort (personally, if I had a knocked up 13 year old daughter, I'd bribe her to abort, even though I find "adult" abortion morally reprehensible) but they have no "right" to privacy.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on June 11, 2011 at 1:35 AM · Report this

Every parent brings a style and approach to bear raising their kids. If yours worked for you congratulations.

However, I don't get to use the law to tell you how to parent because I disagree with your style. And you shouldn't get to use the law to keep important medical information about their daughters from other parents because you disagree with theirs.


I'm guessing you're not a parent.

My son has not got the right to keep a broken bone from us, even if he wished to do so. That's our concern as his parents. When he's an adult that bodily autonomy of which you speak comes into play, but not now.

My daughter gets grounded on occasion, and her bodily autonomy is compromised, by your terms.

The welfare of my children is the pre-eminent concern of my life. If this means they haven't yet acquired liberties they aren't mature enough to enjoy anyway, that's called parenting.

Posted by Seattleblues on June 11, 2011 at 9:32 AM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 34
Seattleblah, again: If you have a good relationship with your daughter, you don't have to worry about this. Relax. Not everything is about you.

It's for the kind of father who would beat the hell out of his daughter for getting pregnant, or the kind of father who would get his daughter pregnant himself that policies like this exist. While I think you're a pompous windbag, I know you're not that kind of father.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on June 11, 2011 at 10:39 AM · Report this
TheRain 35
"If you have a good relationship with your daughter, you don't have to worry about this. Relax. Not everything is about you."

It's very naive to believe that girls wouldn't hide things from their parents, even if those parents are loving and trusting.
Posted by TheRain on June 11, 2011 at 3:08 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 36
If a girl can't bring herself to tell her parents she's pregnant, she needs a plan b. For two girls I knew in high school, one's plan was to exercise, hoping to "lose the baby", and for the other one, it was to have her boyfriend kick her in the stomach. Both ended up suddenly not pregnant.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on June 11, 2011 at 7:09 PM · Report this

Add a comment


Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy