Mother of British Teen Distraught by Secret Abortion, Wants Law Changed

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 10, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mother of British Teen Distraught by Secret Abortion, Wants Law Changed

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
February 10, 2004

London, England ( — A British woman is calling for a change in Britain’s abortion law, after her 15-year-old daughter had an abortion without her knowledge.

The law currently permits girls under age 16 to have an abortion without their parents’ permission. The mother in question discovered her daughter had had an abortion only after she read about it in the girl’s diary.

The daughter’s admission of the abortion came in this troubling diary entry: "I had my termination (killed my baby)."

According to the Mirror newspaper, the girl’s mother is furious that doctors allowed the abortion to take place in secret.

"I am appalled that this can happen," the mother told the British newspaper. "I asked her if she wanted to get rid of it and she said she was just too afraid of telling me. I was distraught that she went through all this on her own. Now she says she didn’t really want to get rid of it."

The mother said the law should require parents to be involved as they are for legitimate medical procedures.

"When she had her tonsils out I had to be there — but not for this. The clinic just told me it was confidential," the mother told the newspaper.

Pro-life groups agree the law should be changed and are appalled at how parents are left to pick up the pieces after secret abortions. In one recent case, the parents of California teen Holly Patterson were left to struggle with the death of their daughter after she died of a botched RU 486 abortion. Patterson obtained the abortion drug from Planned Parenthood and the abortion business never made the decision known to her parents.

"The 15-year-old girl in this case now admits that she didn’t really want the abortion," said Nuala Scarisbrick, a trustee for LIFE, a leading pro-life organization in the UK.

"And while she was frightened of telling her mother, deep-down she wanted her to know. This must be typical of thousands of other cases, and, if the law was different, there might still be a baby alive today, and a much happier mother and daughter," Scarisbrick added.

In this particular case, the mother said she would have "supported (her daughter) all the way."

Scarisbrick notes that, while most mothers might be shocked when they learn about a daughter’s pregnancy, they would ultimately stand by their daughters.

"LIFE is calling for a change in the law to prevent situations such as this one to happen," Scarisbrick said.

"It should be illegal to perform an abortion on an underage girl without parental consent. The laws on underage sex are there to protect children from being abused," Scarisbrick added. "The same should apply with abortion. Children are not emotionally equipped to make decisions of this gravity on their own."

The teenager reportedly visited North Manchester General Hospital twice last month — once to determine the stage of her pregnancy and a second time for the abortion.

According to Department of Health guidelines, a child under 16 can provide consent for treatment only if a doctor is satisfied the child fully understands the procedure.

"It is despicable that the abortion industry itself isn’t pressing for such a change in the law," Scarisbrick said. "They claim to have women and girls’ best interests at heart and that ‘‘the
processes involved are fully explained to the patient.’

"But are their clients told about the link between abortion and breast cancer, warned about post-abortion trauma, advised that they may be risking their future fertility?" Scarisbrick said.

"In our experience of unplanned pregnancy, after the initial shock and certainly by the end of the pregnancy, the baby is usually a very wanted child and many women and girls cannot believe that they considered abortion," Scarisbrick noted. "Underage girls should be given every opportunity to keep their babies and this often requires parental support. Families should make these sorts of decisions together–not children on their own."