A coworker of mine once and I had an discussion about parental notification laws that just spun my head.
She announced that they were a bad idea because rapists were taking their victims to get abortions. I pointed out that an older guy who impregnates a younger girl and is responsible enought to take her to a clinic might technically be a "rapist," but he's likely also a "boyfriend" and that my relationship with my folks really sucked in high school, but I would have gone to my mom if I needed an abortion. So any underage girl who didn't go to her folks probably was worried about getting abused.
At that point, we figured we should agree to disagree and we moved on. But it was helpful to get a glimpse into the head of someone who agreed with parental notification laws as I'd really not understood how anyone could reasonably support them.
Whenever I don't understand how anyone could believe something political, I try to find out from a reasonable person who is more liberal or more conservative than I am. Often I've been bitched at by liberals especially who couldn't even entertain the possiblity that a non-monster could disagree with them and I have had many variations on this conversation:
"Head start! How could you POSSIBLY be against greater funding of HEAD START! Don't you CARE about the POOR at all? Or are you some sort of SELFISH CONSERVATIVE who doean't care about kids in the innner city?"
"Um... Head Start does sound really good. But when psychologists have studied it, they have shown that the effects of head start wear off. Even if you send a kid to the best nursery school in the world when you send them on to a badly underfunded inner-city school later, by fourth grade they are going to be right where the other kids are. So it seems reasonable to me to take the money you'd use on Head Start and use it to improve the schools at higher grades or do something else with it, because if what we're doing is wearing off, we're wasting the money now."
"Oh. Well, I still disagree, but OK..."
Now you can agree with my argument to not have Head Start, which was really mostly for the sake of conversation, I don't really know what I think, or you can say that psychologists have also shown that the nursery school years are a critical time for learning and if that learning isn't sticking we should try another form of Head Start as it should work somehow.
But my point is, we are reasonable people having a conversation.
So at the time, I accepeted my coworker's thesis that parental notification laws can lead to more statutory rapes. As far as I knew, she could be right. There were no studies showing the proportion of girls worried about being abused to girls worried about getting punished.
But now there is good evidence that would seem to indicate that underage girls who want abortions have a good reason for asking for them. According to the Orlando Sentinel, in the last six months of last year, 120 underage girls went before judges and asked to be allowed to have abortions without telling their parents.
Of those requests, only eight were ultimately denied.
This suggests to me that the Florida judiciary has understood why a girl didn't want to tell her parents 112 times and found her reasons spurious only eight times. (OK, technically 11 girls were denied, but three got the ruling overturned on appeal.)
I think I'm going to need a better argument to understand why people would support these laws now.