A story out of New Zealand recently told of a school nurse booking a student for an abortion, driving her there during school hours, bringing her home late, and lying about why they were late. Weeks later, as the girl deteriorated emotionally and physically, it came out that she had received an abortion that day. The surgery damaged her uterus and she will now never be able to have a baby.
Any parent reading this story can relate to the outrage of a mother having a school employee go behind her back to encourage her 15-year-old daughter to get life-changing surgery in secret. As it turns out, the school did not have to notify the parents because New Zealand has no requirement of parental consent for a minor to have an abortion. The school nurse could legally leave a mother wondering where on earth her teenage daughter was when she didn’t come off the school bus in the afternoon.
The fact that underage girls in Canada can get an abortion without parental consent or notification means stories like this can happen here too. Supporters of secret underage abortions argue points like access to health care, doctor-patient confidentiality, and negative family relationships. But what it really comes down to is a lack of respect for parental authority. Parents are no longer trusted to have the best interests of their children in mind.
Parents need to stand up for their right to protect and guide their children. No one should encourage your children to make major life decisions in isolation, or counsel them to hide things from you.
The organization I work for, WeNeedaLAW.ca, and the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association are lobbying for a parental consent for abortion law in Saskatchewan, a law that should be in place in every Canadian province. We recently received a legal opinion on parental consent that makes it even clearer that the best interests of children are in no way served, or enhanced, by undermining parental authority and responsibility.
One of the key findings of from our legal opinion is that parents are ultimately responsible for the care and guidance of their children. Under the United Nations’Convention on the Rights of the Child, parents have primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of their children, with the best interests of the child being their primary concern. Article 18 indicates that this “best interests” measure includes taking into account a child’s maturity and capacity for decision-making; it does not, however, preclude parental involvement with more mature minors.
Another of the key findings is that medical codes of ethics should not be considered satisfactory on the issue of abortion. These codes should follow statutory guidelines, not the other way around. Allowing the medical profession to make its own rules is an example of a government unwilling to do its Parliamentary duty.
Parents are involved in virtually all other medical decisions, and may have valuable information about a child’s medical history as well as family medical history. Doctors, school nurses, or private abortion clinic employees should not play counselor and parent to teens in crisis.
The fact that a school needs permission to take your child on a field trip, but not for surgery, is beyond ridiculous. That same teen needs parental consent before getting a tattoo or using a tanning salon, and needs official consent before being legally allowed to drink, smoke, or drive a car. Has abortion really become such a taboo subject that we are willing to just ignore all legal oversights rather than face the wrath of abortion advocates?
Undermining parental authority undermines the best interests of children and tells parents they don’t need to be involved in their children’s lives. If someone else can take my child for surgery and I only find out about it later, they can expect to hear from me. I expect they’d hear from you too.
LifeNews Note: Anna Nienhius is the Research and Policy coordinator for WeNeedaLAW.ca.