Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lack of Parental Notification is our Fault

Monday Minute for March 29, 2010
Lack of Parental Notification is our Fault
Thoughts from the Executive Director

Last week our state came face to face with an unfortunate reality. In Seattle, a fifteen year-old girl was sent to a hospital for an abortion and her parents were never notified.

Sadly, what was done was entirely legal. While a seventeen year-old can’t get her ears pierced or get a tattoo without parental permission, a fifteen year-old can get an abortion without the parents ever knowing it happened.

The girl’s parents had signed a consent form that authorized the school to provide medical services, including birth control. And in our strange way of looking at things, we make no distinction between ending a pregnancy and preventing a pregnancy. But let’s be clear, this consent form had nothing to do with the fact that she was able to get an abortion without notifying her parents.

In fact, an abortion is the only medical procedure that girl could have undergone that day without her parents being notified. They wouldn’t consider setting your child’s broken arm without letting you know. Your child can’t even get on a school bus and go to the zoo without your written permission. But she can be sent to a hospital for an abortion without your awareness.

No harm would have resulted from waiting until the parents were made aware of their daughter’s pregnancy unless you believe, as our policy makers do, that this girl’s parents are the harm that she is to be protected from.

In the eyes of the law, it is not at all tragic that a fifteen year-old would be pregnant and have an abortion. What is tragic is that a young girl, while pregnant, would be asked to consider the life of the baby developing within her. What is tragic is that a young girl would be asked to consider not just the next five months, but the next fifty years. Such a scenario is so offensive, that the law protects a minor from her own parents in order to ensure that it never transpires.

Is the situation wrong? It is more than wrong. Cheating on your taxes is wrong—this is unconscionable. The arrogance evidenced in the attitude that the government gets to decide what parents do and don’t know about their children should frighten each of us. When teenagers are in crisis, concerned, involved parents are not the problem; they are the solution to the problem.

This session, a bill was introduced that would have required parental notification for a minor to receive an abortion. As in prior years, it hasn’t even had a hearing. I hope this changes.

Call your legislators at 1-800-562-6000 and tell them that parents are not the enemy and that parental involvement in kid’s lives is a good thing—especially in a time of crisis. Ask them to support parental notification for abortions.
As always, please be respectful, but please be heard.

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