Planned Parenthood and minimum marriage age
September 10, 2019 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Planned Parenthood opposes minimum marriage age legislation in California. Why?

I'm guessing the opposition is misrepresented in some way but searching around I haven't been able to find any statement from PP itself (which is also suspicious).

So I guess my question breaks out to:

1) Does PP actually oppose a minimum marriage age law as policy or do they just oppose this specific law because it has a rider that cuts their funding or reduces healthcare access or something?

2) If they do oppose a minimum marriage age what is the reasoning? It seems like this sort of policy is outside their healthcare wheelhouse.
posted by Mitheral to Law & Government (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I’m not an insider or an expert, but I am guessing it’s because they’re foreseeing an analogy between the fundamental right to marry and the fundamental right to make decisions about one’s own body, such as whether to continue with an unwanted pregnancy. So, if a state can prohibit marriage before a certain age, it may strengthen the state’s argument for being able to ban abortions before a certain age.
posted by lakeroon at 8:45 AM on September 10, 2019 [12 favorites]

No luck coming up with anything either, but this article suggests that PP believes current protections are sufficient.
posted by jquinby at 9:14 AM on September 10, 2019

Not Planned Parenthood, but interesting and all too plausible: "We at Unchained helped to write and promote SB 273 to end all marriage before 18 in California, without exceptions. But legislators amended the bill beyond recognition; in its current form, it would do more harm than good." However, ACLU at least opposed the whole thing from the beginning; it's not clear when PP jumped in (if they actually did; I too am not finding anything except that one legislator claiming it happened and several articles citing that, and am unconvinced he's being forthright).

(Also note the dates on all that stuff, if you're getting baited into a fight about this on social media. If there had been a story, I'm inclined to think someone would have already covered it.)

In pure speculation, childhood marriage is one of the very few legal ways to escape an abusive parental home, and thus potentially a way to access an abortion that'd otherwise be denied. I'm not saying I'm in favor of it overall, just I can easily imagine a teen being in that situation.
posted by teremala at 9:18 AM on September 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

[One comment deleted; sorry, this is AskMe so please stick to answers specifically about Planned Parenthood's position on this issue, rather than getting into a wider discussion about the issue itself. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:31 AM on September 10, 2019

I don't know either but my assumption is that the legislation has been rubbished with amendments but more importantly, preserving the right of people under 18 to marry without parental consent is is an important component of preserving their ability to seek medical care, birth control and abortions without parental consent.

I sort of want to ring their PR office and find out now.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:44 AM on September 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

As far as I can tell, they did not publicly release any kind of statement on SB273, but from what I can gather it comes down to the original bill would completely remove teen's right to marry (even other teens the same age), and Planned Parenthood has continually fought for the belief that constitutional rights aren't granted at majority, and teens have the right to make decisions about themselves.

“Constitutional rights do not mature and come into being magically only when one attains the state-defined age of majority. Minors, as well as adults, are protected by the Constitution and possess constitutional rights.” Planned Parenthood v. Danforth, 428 U.S. 52, 74
posted by muddgirl at 12:21 PM on September 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

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