Möbius Matters


Today our local newspaper contained an article addressing Governor Palin's decision to throw her weight behind House Bill 35 (http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_bill.asp?session=26&bill=HB35). Governor Palin is promoting legislation that is divisive, dubious, and duplicitous, and the suggestion that this is "parents' rights legislation" is simply preposterous.

There can be no doubt about the impact that her press conference will have. She has virtually declared war on the current law and the Alaska Supreme Court all in one swoop at a time when we have frankly more serious matters on the table. Why this is not a matter for urgent consideration will be discussed below, but one has to ask why, facing a depression impacting all state funds, litigation over school funding, issues regarding TRS and PRS, a possible gas line, loss of polar ice, etc., Governor Palin launched this initiative. The "wedge" here is not the current law, but the Governor herself.

The Bill is dubious because it is likely unconstitutional. Rep. Coghill stated that he felt that the Bill had a chance of meeting constitutional muster because it contained a new notice clause. But if the real intent of the Bill is to make sure parents have notice, then why tie consent to notice. And the provisions providing for a teen to go to court to litigate? How is a teen going to manage that without appointed counsel that will cost funds we not only do not have, but will certainly be opposed by the same people proposing the legislation? And does anyone really believe that there isn't a hidden agenda here intended to delay any decision until abortion is no longer a choice?

And the point about notice really has to give us pause to ponder about the "rights" of the the father. If we are going to argue that a woman is not entitled to reproductive freedom, then surely the father should have greater rights than the mother's parents. That would lead us to argue that there should also be laws adopted controlling notice of intent NOT to abort, since that would certainly be as traumatic an event as aborting. Perhaps what we really need to do is require that all females over the age of 10 be tested weekly and the results of those tests published in the ADN. That way all possible fathers as well as all persons claiming rights as parents of the mother can all litigate control over the minors womb.

Yes, I am being facetious, but that is really where this is going. Let's face it, the Bill is duplicitous because we are not really talking here about children who are engaged with their families. The Bill targets children who have arguably been abused or neglected by their parents and who are so estranged from their parents that they would refuse to confide in them. Are those the people whose rights we are most concerned with here? I would have to suggest that in many cases the rights that those parents should be read are their rights in a CINA matter convened to remove the child from their custody!

This Bill s not about making sure that a minor has adequate and accurate resources with which to make informed decisions. This is about people who want to deny their children necessary education and hide their heads in the sand. It is about people who want to substitute their own judgment so as to deprive the child of her choice, the very choice that the Governor's own daughter has so bravely embraced (review the Bristol Palin's frank admissions http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,494205,00.html as well as the concerns voiced by young people about whether they were prepared by their parents or schools for their own sexuality at http://www.adn.com/education/story/542235.html). This is a Bill intended to allow people who have already failed their children to force those children to have children. This is a 400 year step backwards.

Nobody wants to see a minor in such a position, let alone without adequate support and resources to face the decision and to cope with the ramifications of her decision, one way or another. But this legislation is not about helping children, it is about converting women into chattels, and that simply is not acceptable. We need to embrace our children and embrace their problems and that will be rewarded with our children's confidences.

This communication was paid for by Marc Grober, 5610 Radcliff Dr. Anchorage, AK 99504