Pillarized Abortion

The Netherlands used to have a very complex system of politics known as consocialization, or pillarization. In short, there were the Protestant community, the Catholic community, and the secular community. Each community, or pillar, would be largely endogamous and have its own customs, own culture, and own political parties. National politics consisted of deals among pillar leaders.

Which, I suppose, is great if you want an inoffensive status quo in which liberals can stay in their gated community and know that nobody will go after their own rights. If you want to help people who don’t feel at home in their pillar, it’s not that good an idea.

That’s how things like parental notification laws come off to me. If you have a liberal family and can pay for an abortion, you can abort without trouble. If your parents happen to be abusive, conservative, poor, or just plain anti-choice, you’re screwed. And if you try relying on liberal institutions to help you, you’ll be held as a test case for how the left’s destroying family values.

Things like Texas’s new abortion law are the conservative way of encroaching on that even more. Whereas plain parental consent allows girls from working-class liberal families to have an abortion, requiring that parental consent be notarized is closer to the goal of making abortion unavailable outside the Upper East Side.


7 Responses to Pillarized Abortion

  1. SLC says:

    Off Topic:

    Here’s a great site for Mr. Levy: I expect that his computer does not have an Intel chip in it.


  2. SLC says:

    On topic.

    I don’t think one should treat the issue of parental notification is quite as cavalierly as does Mr. Levy. There is a serious issue involved here. For instance, a female under the age of 18 requires parental consent to get a nose job, a boob job or a tush job. No reputable physician would perform any of these operations without it. Although I am pro-choice, I think we must think very carefully about whether it’s a good idea to make an exception for an abortion. The same restrictions apply to males, although the latter 3 operations are inapplicable.

  3. KH says:

    V. good. This goes, among other things, to things like Catherine MacKinnon’s criticism of liberal thinking about the public/private distinction. Not exactly, but sort of like each family is its own pillar.

  4. Alon Levy says:

    SLC, boob jobs are an entirely elective procedure, with no medical benefits. Abortion isn’t like that; for one, it’s less risky than giving birth. But nobody’s saying that abortion should be the default, and a girl under 18 has to get her parents’ permission to give birth.

    Besides, the situation in which the girl’s parents are abusive, or her father raped her, has no analog in any of the procedures you describe.

  5. SLC says:

    Abortion is also an elective procedure. It is true that abortion is safer then giving birth, at least when performed in the first trimester. However, there are potential psychological consequences to having an abortion which have to be considered. In addition, I didn’t absolutely say I favored parental consent; only that one should be cautious about making abortion an exception to the rule that parental consent is required before performing a medical procedure on a minor.

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