British Court Hears From Govt. Opposing Parental Involvement on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 12, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Court Hears From Govt. Opposing Parental Involvement on Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 12, 2005

London, England ( — After hearing from a British mother who wants parents in England to be able to know when their minor daughters are considering having an abortion, the British High Court heard from the Department of Health, which wants to keep current rules in place preventing them from knowing.

Nathalie Lieven, representing the Family Planning Association, told the court that the notion of parents knowing what’s best for their children in terms of major medical decisions is an outdated concept.

Lieven defended current rules which allow abortions to be performed on girls under the age of 16 without their parents knowledge. The rules also personnel at abortion businesses or family planning clinics to discuss sexual health issues without parent involvement.

"There is no doubt whatsoever that a child has a right to confidentiality," she said on the final day of the three-day hearing. "A parent’s rights cannot override a child’s rights."

She said that parents who have pro-life views on abortion of sexual issues shouldn’t be making decisions for their children.

"They may be highly loving parents, or have extremely strict views on underage sex, or extremely strict views on abortion, or teenagers having babies," she said.

But Philip Havers, the attorney for Sue Axon, the mother who brought the lawsuit, said the public would find FPA’s views of parental involvement "astonishing," The Guardian reported.

"I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of people in this country would support the proposition that, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the best judges of a child’s welfare are his or her parents," he said.

"One can ask the question, if parents are not the best people to advise their child — who is? Is it the FPA? Is it social workers," he asked.

The high court is expected to rule on the case before the end of the year.

Axon disclosed earlier this week that one of her daughters is pregnant. She had an abortion herself 20 years ago and regrets the decision.