Montana Politics

Revisiting the Wisdom of Parental Consent Laws

As an educator who has worked with many troubled teenaged girls, I have a lot to say about Stacey Rambold, the sentence Judge Baugh gave him for illegally engaging in sex with a 14 year old girl, and a Washington Post opinion that sex between teachers and underage students really should be considered consensual. “Furious”, however, is not a state of mind conducive to righting long blog posts, so I’ve yet to effectively put my thoughts there into words.

I would, however, like to note a somewhat marginal side issue – Montana voters and legislators have decided repeatedly that minor females must notify their parents before having access to their constitutionally guaranteed reproductive freedoms. The only safety valve for girls whose extenuating but non-emergency circumstances make such notification inappropriate or even dangerous? The ability of the judiciary to wisely, sensitively, and impartially evaluate the interests of 13-17 year old girls in matters related to sex and their bodies. In light of the fact that that Todd Baugh is still a sitting judge in the state of Montana, is anyone willing re-consider the wisdom of this position?

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  • So long as we have parental rights, things will be what they are. Now the solution is to change the age of majority and emancipation to say 13. Then teens can do whatever they want without parental interference. Just don’t hold parents responsible for the safety, housing, education, and care of minors without allowing such parents a say in their children’s upbringing.

  • Where to start? In either case, this is an issue of a woman having control over her own body. The fact that children are given physical adulthood before they’ve got the emotional reins to manage it makes it all harder.

    The good judge has a huge problem. How many times have you heard what a shame it would be to “ruin” some “poor” guy’s life. If I had a son to give advice to, I’d say keep it buttoned up unless you’re married or you’ve set a date.

    I would really appreciate comments from young adults who grew up after the sexual revolution.

    • Having grown up after the sexual revolution, I think the problem is not a general loosening of sexual morals (indeed, even societies which place a great deal of emphasis on the chastity of women can have monumental issues with rape) but a very particular way of thinking about sex, essentially imagining that it is a personal activity. If sex is just something YOU do with YOUR body, there is no reason to think about the effect it has on someone else. If you choose to ignore that there is another person involved or believe that sex puts you under no obligation to them other than to legally obtain consent, you may go ahead and have sex in a lot of conditions that you know are bad for the other person – but not feel its your responsibility to think about it. That leads to a lot of gray areas (yeah, they exist, however we try to deny it) about consent and legality. Simply recognizing that the person you’re about to have sex with is a human being and respecting that fact and their best interests may not get you laid as much as getting a reasonable facsimile of consent before acting, but it will keep you out of trouble and make you a better person.

        • Indeed, but the selfishness comes I think inherently from the idea that sex is a decision of one person for one person – without recognizing any kind of obligation to think about the other individual involved.

          Buuuut…I rarely miss an opportunity to blame things on Ayn Rand, and her view of sex as an inherently selfish act is certainly not conducive to an environment of respect towards one’s sexual partners.

      • My mom grew up in a time when people believed that maintaining civility and sexual desires was a woman’s job. Men were considered sexually incorrigible and women were supposed to conduct themselves accordingly. So, while some of this culture lingers, the grey areas indicate not an issue of personal morality, but of societal impact. Infantilizing men as though they are helpless victims of their libido befuddled Augustine (thanks to a lack of science, he developed a weird, women-as-satan’s-temptresses view). But it stuck, anyway. The message was “Women Beware.” And if a woman was raped, everyone knew she was asking for it. She shouldn’t have worn a short skirt, walked alone after midnight, or drunk three beers.
        And Judge Baugh holds those same views.
        The perspective is useful and hopeful. Sex is often considered a compartmentalizedact that is its own end, so I appreciate the remark about seeking consent as part of an integrated and mutifaceted activity, in pursuit of being a better person.

  • Two comments? Maybe we should return to the last discussion: Whether to stay with a bully or skewer Patriarchy. . . I think you struck a nerve, there, PW. It is a discourse of which time has quite certainly arrived. Finally.

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  • This case is a comedy of errors –

    First, when my daughter and her friends took Rambolds class, they would wear sweaters to class, because he would walk up behind them and look down their shirts in class, and they called him a ‘creeper’.

    When he was complained about, he got a disciplinary hearing, complete with union lawyers representing him, and he was give a warning to avoid young women in his class.

    Then loose lips from his 14-year-old-child victim got him arrested, and he was on PAID LEAVE for months before he had to resign. Yes, resign, because SD2 was afraid to tangle with the MEA/BEA.

    This is a perfect case FOR parental consent – if he would have knocked up one of his victims he might have been stopped sooner.

    • Yep. The union’s fault. Gotta be. But wait, where in the union rules does it specifically say that they must protect perverts? I must’a missed that section.

  • You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation but
    I in finding this topic to be really something which I think I would by no means understand.
    It kind of feels too complicated and extremely wide for me.
    I’m having a look forward to your subsequent post, I’ll try to get the cling of it!

  • After I initially commented I seem to have
    clicked the -Notify me when new comments
    are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I receive 4
    emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a way you can remove
    me from that service? Appreciate it!

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