by Steven Ertelt
June 22, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new Congressional bill will re-launch an old battle over notifying parents about health care services teenagers receive at federally funded health clinics. Pro-life lawmakers introduced the measure, that would require such facilities to tell parents before dispensing contraception or birth control.
The legislation, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and in the House y Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, would require any of 4,400 federal Title 10 clinics across the country to tell parents about the health care teens receive.
Congress spent $286 million in fiscal 2005 on Title 10 clinics and Coburn told the Muskogee Phoenix newspaper that the government has a responsibility to make sure those clinics keep parents informed.
"I have seen first-hand the painful consequences associated with our federal policy that allows children to make potentially life-changing reproduction decisions without their parent’s knowledge," Coburn, an OBGYN, explained.
"This government-sanctioned veil of secrecy is contributing to a growing sexually transmitted disease epidemic and encourages unintended teen pregnancies and abortions," he told the Oklahoma paper.
Coburn’s bill already has nine Senate sponsors, but Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business, is not backing it.
"This legislation puts youth at risk for unintended pregnancies, abortion and sexually transmitted diseases," interim president Karen Pearl alleges. "Sen. Coburn is pursuing an ideological agenda and he is patently wrong."
However, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, supports the legislation.
"Parents have the right to protect their minor daughters from the careless neglect of clinics that may take advantage of young women, some who may be victims of sexual predators," she said.
Wright pointed to the case of 16-year-old Melissa Anspach.
In January 2004, her parents found the Philadelphia-area teen sprawled in pain on her bedroom floor in the middle of the night after a Title X clinic administered the morning-after pill to her without their knowledge.
Melissa suffered severe stomach pains, vomiting, a rash and a swollen face.
The clinic did not inquire about Melissa’s medical history, Wright explains, and did not tell her that the Plan B pills can sometimes cause an abortion in cases where a woman has already conceived a child.
The City of Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health and those who treated Melissa are facing a lawsuit and saying that they were under no obligation to tell Melissa’s parents about her medical treatment.
"If Melissa Anspach’s parents had been notified of the clinic’s intent to dispense the morning-after pill to their daughter, they would have had the chance to protect her from her traumatic experience," Wright concluded.
Related web sites:
Concerned Women for America – https://www.cwfa.org