Friday, December 02, 2005

Emergency Medical Ear Piercing/R-rated Movie Watching

After listening to the arguments in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood (you can hear them on-line at C-SPAN's web site), I was amazed at the focus on a completely implausible scenario that never happens in real life. The judges in favor of legal abortion by judicial fiat created a scenario of immense impossibility and focused almost all of their questions on how New Hampshire's law would deal with this most unlikely of unlikely possibilities. The scenario being a minor girl who enters a hospital with an emergency medical condition that doesn't endanger her life but immediately endangers her future fertility and abortion seems to be the only "treatment" for this condition. The girl doesn't want doctors to call her parents. What is the doctor to do? Is he or she legally allowed to proceed with the abortion.

In lieu of the Ayotte case, I've recently discovered that Souter, Breyer, Stevens and Ginsburg are about to make a decision on the constitutionality of parental consent laws regarding ear piercing. They are also considering whether to overturn limits on what movies minors may see without being accompanied by their parents because of possible medical emergencies that may arise if minors are not allowed to see R-rated movies that may cure their emergency medical ailments.

Souter and company have come up with a scenario where the health of a minor girl may be endangered by this New Hampshire's parental consent for an ear piercing law. Their scenario is below:

Let's say a teenage girl, I'll call her Sarah, enters a hospital at 2 o'clock in the morning. Sarah, for some unknown reason, is at a hospital with a serious medical condition at 2 a.m. without her parents. This serious, emergency medical condition is not life-threatening but it could affect her hearing in future years. You see, Sarah has a newly discovered, before unheard of medical condition where unless her ear is pierced (a simple poke thru the skin) in the next 30 minutes, it is highly likely that she will become deaf. Unfortunately, New Hampshire has a law that prevents anyone from piercing the ear of minor unless a parent consents to the piercing. To complicate matters even further, Sarah refuses to allow the doctors to contact her parents about this emergency situation.

And suppose further, that the doctor's lawyer is present at this situation. What would the lawyer advise his client to do? And remember, every second in this emergency situation counts (some might even suggest that the doctor not wash his hands because time is so of the essence).

In related news
Doctors have just discovered the "Kill Bill: Volume 1 Syndrome." This emergency condition potentially has dramatic effects on the future fertility of minor boys and can only be alleviated if the patients are allowed to watch Uma Thurman mercilessly slice and dice her way through hundreds of combatants before killing Lucy Liu. Doctors must now decide if they will risk legal repercussions by showing endangered minor boys "Kill Bill: Volume 1" when the parents of the minor boys don't want their children to watch the ultra-violent movie or when an unaccompanied minor boy arrives at a hospital at 2 a.m. without his parents and doesn't want his parents to be contacted.

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