Oregon is that surreal place where you aren't trusted to pump your own gas, but if you'd like to kill yourself, the State is there to assist you.
-- Carl E. Olson, “Welcome to Oregon, the State of Teenage Sterilization!"
Whatever else one might say for 15-year-olds, most people would agree it’s not typical of the class to completely think things through. It’s nothing for a 15-year-old to undergo an epiphany of some kind or other, after which she’ll dramatically inform parents and friends that from this day forward she’ll never again eat anything with a face, has realized that she has always been and will always be a lesbian, or has made up her mind that the best thing she can do for her personal appearance is to improve it with tattoos.
While there’s always room in the future to reconsider the first two of these decisions, the people of Oregon realized the sense in throwing up legal safeguards to protect impulsive teenagers marring themselves all over with injected ink. According to the Oregon Health Licensing Agency:
In Oregon, tattooing is prohibited on anyone under the age of 18-regardless of parental or legal guardian consent. In other words, even if you had given your daughter permission, the tattoo artist who gave her the tattoo would be in violation of state law and subject to disciplinary action.
Unfortunately, the wisdom Oregonians showed in the case of teenage tattooing turned out to be a finite supply. And combining that with the longstanding influence of Planned Parenthood in the state, supercharged most recently by Obamacare, a 15-year-old’s decision to deprive herself permanently of the capacity for bearing children is both legal, and can be undertaken (of course) without regard for the consent of parent or guardian:
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Forget the milestones of obtaining a driver's license at 16 and being able to legally drink at 21 - getting sterilized at 15 is now the first step in the social maturity process of an American youth.
The "Required Health Plan Coverage Guidelines" set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states: "Non-grandfathered plans and issuers are required to provide coverage without cost-sharing consistent with these guidelines in the first plan year that begins on or after August 1, 2012. All [FDA] approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity."
Under Oregon State Law, the state's revised statutes (ORS) defines "informed consent" for 15-year-olds independently pursuing reproductive sterilization as being "(a) Based upon a full understanding of the nature and consequences of sterilization pursuant to information requirements set forth in ORS 436.225(1); (b) Given by an individual competent to make such a decision; and (c) Wholly voluntary and free from coercion, express or implied."
So you need parental consent to contract a state-sanctioned marriage under the age of 18 in the U.S., but you, all by yourself, can give full consent to the irreversibility of sterilization at 15? Chances are, you do not even know your future spouse, yet you're already determining his or her fate as well?
Oregon's consent form, specific for the sterilizations of 15 to 20-year-olds, reads, "I understand that the sterilization must be considered permanent and not reversible. I have decided that I do not want to become pregnant, bear children or father children." In the case that the patient does not speak or read English, an interpreter is permitted to assist the patient "to the best of [his] knowledge and belief" in the signing away of the patient's reproductive capacity. (“Obamacare Begins Child Sterilization, Without Parental Consent”).
A 15-year-old may honestly mean it when she signs a statement that she understands a decision is permanent and not reversible. That’s not the point. But she still understands “permanent” within the confines of the limited experience of a teenager. How many young people commit suicide because they can’t gauge that an excruciating, but ultimately temporary, problem tormenting them will pass – if measured from the experience of one much older – by the passage of hardly much more time? For many 15-year-olds, the rest of one’s life simply can’t be brought into focus much past the end of high school, and then a bit more into the foggy future beyond.
Even Oregon’s atrocious assisted suicide law forbids “death with dignity” to minors. But then Oregonians probably aren’t as ideologically driven to terminate other Oregonians to the same degree they’re determined to prevent too many of them from being born.