Conservative humorist P.J. O’Rourke, in reviewing Hillary Clinton’s book, “It Takes a Village (To Raise a Child),” said that only by reading it could you really see what she meant by those terms.

In Clinton’s mind, he said, “Government is the village. And you’re the child.”

We see that philosophy at work in many levels of government in these “nanny-state” days, but some lawmakers in Augusta have drawn up three abortion-related bills that are trying to claw back some rights that belong to real people, not the artificial surrogates that left-leaning legislators and jurists have made of themselves, the medical profession and social service agencies.

The bills, which are set for a public hearing at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Augusta, are these:

• LD 1457, “An Act to Strengthen the Consent Laws for Abortions Performed on Minors and Incapacitated Persons.” This bill, sponsored by Rep. Dale Crafts, R-Lisbon, “repeals the current law concerning consent for a minor’s abortion, and enhances safeguards to ensure parental consent is in place prior to a minor receiving an abortion.”

This change is necessary because, the way Maine law stands now, almost any unrelated adult — including the doctor who will profit from the abortion — can give consent to have a girl’s baby aborted without notifying the parents who are responsible for her welfare.

However, the bill does not give the small minority of abusive or uninvolved parents unlimited say on the issue, something that opponents of restoring parental rights often raise as a scare tactic.

Instead, as the bill’s summary states, “This bill requires the notarized written consent of a parent or legal guardian before an abortion may be performed on a (unemancipated) minor or an incapacitated person. Consent may be given in certain circumstances by a brother or sister who is at least 21 years of age or by a stepparent or a grandparent.

“Consent is not required in a medical emergency. The Probate Court or District Court may issue an order for the purpose of consenting to the abortion in two circumstances if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that the petitioner is both sufficiently mature and well-informed to decide whether to have an abortion (or) that there is a pattern of physical or sexual abuse or neglect of the petitioner by one or both of her parents or her guardian, or that notification of a parent or guardian is not in the best interests of the petitioner.”

This bill empowers responsible parenting, nothing more nor less — and helps limit the power of the state in an area in which its interests are less vital than those of the typical family.

•  LD 116, “An Act to Require a 24-Hour Waiting Period prior to an Abortion.” Its sponsor, Rep. Tyler Clark, R-Easton, says it requires a 24-hour waiting period prior to an abortion except in the case of a medical emergency.

Why wait? Surveys of post-abortive women widely show that many regret their decision, and substantial numbers say they were pressured into it, typically by male partners who say they will leave or otherwise punish them if they allow their child to be born.

Letting a day pass helps to take the pressure off, and the “medical emergency” exemption permits an immediate abortion if an abortion is necessary “to avert her death or to avoid a delay that would create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

Since it’s hard to imagine any other good reason for not waiting a day to have an optional medical procedure, this bill, too, deserves support.

•  LD 924, “An Act to Educate Women on the Medical Risks Associated with Abortion.”

This “informed consent” bill, co-sponsored by 27 legislators, is modeled after laws passed in a number of other states that have passed judicial review.

It requires that, 24 hours before an abortion, women would be presented with a brochure prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services that “explains the risks of and alternatives to abortion and provides scientifically accurate information concerning the development of a fetus.”

As well as information about the medical risks of an abortion and of childbirth, the brochure would describe the availability of medical benefits and the legal liability of the father to provide support for a child.

In addition, it would list data “concerning public and private agencies that will provide a woman with economic and other assistance to carry the fetus to term.”

The brochure would be sent to all doctors’ offices and be made available online.

It may be hard to understand that anyone would object to giving a woman who is contemplating an invasive procedure information about what is occurring, but there are indeed people who object to such simple, informative actions.

Why they want to keep women in ignorance is a bit of a mystery, but they do.

That’s why this bill, too, deserves to become law. It views women as responsible agents and empowers them with information that people who profit from abortions, and those for whom they are an ideological cause, are now denying them.

None of these bills is unique. Other states have adopted them or similar measures.

They represent relatively modest steps toward returning both information and power to people now denied it by current statutes and policies that are sold as defending “choice,” but in fact deny informed choices to many Mainers.


M.D. Harmon is an editorial writer. He can be contacted at 791-6482 or at:

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