Many people who support "the right to choose" feel that it's not unreasonable to set the requirement that young women get permission from their parents before deciding how to proceed, or at least let them know. But what does it mean to mandate such a thing, just because we hope that the family would be a natural and even instinctive source of support? This Dear Abby column points up the risks -- girls who don't automatically feel comfortable with telling their parents that they're pregnant may have a very good reason for keeping their secret, whether it's the likelihood of a violent response or the fact that an abusive relative is the father of the child. We need to trust the insights of those who know the situation firsthand, rather than presuming that a faceless government will somehow always "know best" . . .
Update: by "keeping their secret" I mean the *pregnancy*, not just an abortion, if that's the eventual choice. The letter writer was discussing a case in which Planned Parenthood recommended that she "have the baby and get on with her life." It was her being pregnant at all that got her the beating. (And it's her being pregnant at all that brings all the right-wingers down on her "morality" to the extent that they no longer care about the value of her having a say over her life. hmmm, interesting parallel...)