Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 5:22 PM on Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Parental consent on abortion won't protect rape victims

I find that Karen DeVaney's recent opinion letter lacked considerable research and thought about domestic violence, incest, rape, and sexual assault in the state of Alaska.

She argued (based on an anecdotal experience of her son's physical exam) that parental notification should be mandatory when an adolescent seeks an abortion. She also argued that consent for said abortion should be required from the parents.

Clearly she did not consider the following (all available from Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault):

* 524 forcible rapes were reported in Alaska in 2005, representing almost 13 percent of all violent crimes.

* The Alaska rape rate is 2.5 times the national average.

* Child sexual assault in Alaska is almost six times the national average.

So when a young girl is raped by the very family member that is supposed to provide consent, does DeVaney think that offers some kind of protection to that young girl?

I am saddened that DeVaney's view is so narrow that she cannot see when a parent or guardian should not be notified of an intent to abort — when that same parent/guardian or the parent's boyfriend, partner or relative is the perpetrator and the reason a young girl is seeking to abort.

It is wonderful to know that DeVaney is a loving parent and cares for the welfare of her child and assumes all parents would do the same. Unfortunately, that is not reality in the state of Alaska. Women need protection and assistance when faced with pregnancy caused by rape — not an obstacle of "required consent" as their consent has already been forfeited by their attackers.

Skippy (Julie) Baker