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Spend more than five minutes with a teenager and you’ll likely notice a fairly obvious observation: teenagers don’t always make the best decisions. There’s a reason God gave kids parents. We know, without a doubt, from study after study and personal experience that an adolescent’s brain is actively developing on the daily. According to a 2013 study, referring specifically to adolescence, the researcher notes, “Particularly significant changes occur in the limbic system, which may impact self-control, decision making, emotions, and risk-taking behaviors.” Yep. That sounds like a teenager to me.
Nevada Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel seems to agree with these findings considering she recently introduced AB 187 into the current legislative session. The bill requires bicycle helmets for any child under the age of 18. When questioned why she chose 18 (many states that have similar helmet laws limit the age to 16 or 15 and under), her response essentially was that 18 is when a child becomes an adult. The implication is that minors are not capable of making good decisions about their safety.
But apparently, parents aren’t capable of making good decisions about the safety of their children either. Hence the $15 fine for parents who don’t abide by the government’s edict.
In a recent interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Spiegel said, “One of the things that differentiates children from adults is that children don’t have the ability to make these decisions for themselves. So, I want to make sure they’re safe.”
She reiterates this point saying, “We want to make sure that the kids are safe, and that they don’t have permanent damage from engaging in fun activity.”
So, while we may disagree on the government telling parents how to parent (I assure you, we disagree vehemently on that point), on its face we do agree with the documented science that demonstrates children, including teenagers, often make terrible, sometimes unsafe and life-threatening decisions.
Or, so I thought we agreed on that point.
But Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel is not only the sponsor of AB 187, she’s also the co-sponsor of the recently introduced SB 179.
Among other things, SB 179 seeks to eliminate a Parental Notification law in Nevada for underage abortion.
Yes, you read that right.
Spiegel introduced a bill that would require children to wear helmets because they are incapable of making safe decisions for themselves. And yet, she believes that children should not only be allowed to seek out an abortion (morality aside, abortion is a medical procedure) but that the parents shouldn’t even be legally allowed to know about said abortion if the child chooses not to inform them.
Also, in 2013 she voted to require parental consent for anyone under 18 to use a tanning bed.
Judging only by what she says, Ms. Spiegel seems to care for the health and safety of children, but her record does not support that. If so, how could she want to protect children from injury while riding a bicycle, but not desire a parent be notified if a child obtains an abortion? A parent doesn’t just have the right to know when their child goes in for surgery, a parent has the right to consent when their child goes in for surgery.
What’s obvious here is that Spiegel, like many liberal legislators and big-government proponents, believes she knows what’s best for children. Never mind that “what’s best” is, to many, completely unethical and also a surgical procedure. To statists, however, parents are simply surrogates for the state. There is zero regard for the fundamental, constitutional rights of parents to make medical, health, and all other decisions for their own children.
So, it makes perfect sense that Assemblywoman Spiegel can pick and choose when a child should be protected and when a child should not. She knows best, after all.
In the case of the bicycle helmet, the state has determined that they are the best authority, not the parent, to decide what is safe for a child. In the case of abortion, the state has determined that the parent doesn’t even have a need to know what their child is doing. In both cases, the state declares what is best.
But the glaring issue with this liberal position is that, as a parent, I did not conceive, carry, and birth my child for the sake of the state. My child is mine, not theirs. And, as the child’s parent, I am the one who has the right to decide whether or not my child wears a bicycle helmet and whether or not my child should obtain an abortion. I am the one who has my child’s best interest in mind.
If only Assemblywomen Spiegel and other liberal Nevada legislators had the proper respect for parents, perhaps they would see the blatant inconsistency and downright hypocrisy of sponsoring bills such as these.
Jessi Bridges is a homebirthing, homesteading, homeschooling writer. She loves to browse bookshelves in the thrift store and create in the kitchen. But you will usually find her on the floor reading to her children. She lives in Las Vegas, where she grew up, with her bearded husband, their five kids, a handful of chickens and their plump gray kitty.