The New Zealand Parliament rejected a common sense measure this week that would have required young teens to involve their parents in an abortion decision.
A group of parents led by Hillary Kieft brought the proposal to the country’s Parliament for consideration last year, according to Stuff, a New Zealand news outlet. The concerned parents asked the government to approve a mandatory parental notification requirement when girls under 16 are seeking abortions, according to a news release about the decision.
Kieft brought the petition to Parliament because of her daughter who had a secret abortion when she was 15 years old. Kieft said her daughter’s school arranged the abortion and then lied to them, saying her daughter had been at a counseling appointment.
Rather than being a quick fix to Kieft’s daughter’s problem, the abortion left the young teen with life-long physical and emotional consequences. Kieft said she lost a grandchild, and her daughter lost her ability to ever have children again.
The report has more about the Kiefts’ situation:
A year later their daughter attempted suicide and it was only then that she confided she had been taken to a Family Planning clinic for an abortion and had not received any follow-up counselling or medical treatment.
The Taranaki mother appeared in front of the select committee in August last year, to speak to MPs about her petition.
She told them that as a result of the abortion her daughter is now infertile, and took medication every day to deal with depression.
“She was denied the support of her family and we were robbed of the ability to properly support and help our child. We also lost a grandchild.”
The Justice and Electoral Select Committee rejected the petition, arguing that many young girls already involve their parents in abortion decisions.
“The evidence presented by the relevant organisations overwhelmingly demonstrated that, although it is best practice for a young person to tell her parents that she is pregnant, this should not be mandatory,” the committee said in its decision. “Young people should be encouraged and supported to tell their family, but in some situations this would put them at risk of harm, the Justice and Electoral Committee has ruled.”
The only thing that the committee did was recommend that young teens should be “actively encouraged” to see a counselor before they make a final decision about an abortion, according to the report.
However, the abortion industry openly opposes common sense parental consent requirements for minors, arguing that they could hurt young girls in abusive family situations. More often, however, parental consent laws help protect young girls from sexual abusers who often use abortion to cover up their crimes. The laws also help protect vulnerable teens from making a hasty, uninformed decision to abort their unborn babies – something they may later regret.
In the U.S., abortion advocates sometimes help young girls skirt parental involvement laws through judicial bypass provisions, which allow the girls to ask a judge for permission rather than tell their parents.
Studies show that parental notification and consent laws are effective in reducing abortion rates. They also help protect vulnerable young girls from making an irreversible decision that they may later regret. Without such a law in place, parents sometimes have to pick up the pieces after their daughter has an abortion and potentially be required to pay for medical bills related to problems afterwards without knowing about the abortion in the first place.
Parental notification and parental consent laws have wide public support. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 38 states in the U.S. require some type of parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion.