What does teen pregnancy have to do with tanning? Absolutely nothing, unless you live in Delaware. The First State has joined a long list of states introducing new abortion laws in an attempt to curb reproductive freedom, but this one's not nearly as clear cut.
They're hitting on the ever contentious issue of teenagers and abortion. Bear with me folks, it's going to be a bumpy ride. See, currently if a teenager wants an abortion in Delaware, the doctor is required to give their parent or guardian 24 hours notice. That gives said parent enough time to talk to the kid about the ramifications of her actions, but it's still up to the person with the uterus to make the ultimate decision.
But Delaware officials have their panties in a bunch because currently teenagers (14 to 18) have to get permission for their vain, er, tanning adventures. A parent isn't just given warning. They can legally say "no way" to skin frying.
And they want to see the same thing happen with abortion -- giving parents the right to block a teen's choice about her own body. Their argument is mind-blowing. In a normal world, the two have nothing in common.
Abortion is about a female human being's decision of whether or not they want a baby. Curbing access means life is altered. Permanently ... and a whole other life comes into the picture, one who must be cared for both financially and physically. To paraphrase our vice president, it's a big friggin' deal.
What about tanning? Well, that's about whether someone's willing to take the risk of developing cancer in 10 years. Cutting off access doesn't really affect anyone at all. You can still lay outside in the sun quite easily. Or think out of the box and go to the store to buy some self-tanner. Problem solved, no one gets hurt. And there is no extra human being who has to suffer a lifetime because he or she was born to someone unable to care for him or her.
A parent who stands in the way of a teen's abortion could be saddling that girl with a lifetime of regrets. She likely has to live with that child as her own long after her parents are dead and buried. She has to give up her childhood. She has to give up on her dreams. A parent who stands in the way of a teen tanning isn't going to cost them much more than maybe a few jeers from classmates about her ghostly pale skin come bathing suit season. Treating the two like they're equal is ludicrous.
I have a daughter. I know this is tough. I don't want to envision her ever facing an unwanted pregnancy OR going tanning. But I can make here and now decisions for my child -- a la tanning. It's the "forever" decisions like abortion that are really up to her. I can counsel, but she's got to live with the results. Not me.
Do you think it's fair to put these two issues together on equal footing?
Image via cogdogblog/Flickr