by Maria Vitale Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
January 13, 2006
Salt Lake City, UT (LifeNews.com) — A bill before the Utah House would require teenage girls to get approval from a parent prior to getting an abortion.
Rep. Kerry Gibson, a freshman lawmaker from Ogden, says he was inspired by his ten-year-old daughter to sponsor the bill, known as HB 85. Currently, Utah law requires parental notification, but not consent, prior to a minor’s abortion.
The Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, says 21 states currently have parental consent laws while 13 states require parental notice.
The Utah law would make exceptions for minors who fear their parents would abuse them if their pregnancies are discovered or if they are pregnant as a result of incest. An exception would also be made if a “medical condition exists that poses a significant threat of harm to the life or health of the minor.”
Twenty-eight Republican House members have signed on as cosponsors for the legislation. “This is a parental rights issue. I’m responsible for anything my child does underage…It’s critical parents give their consent to this," Gibson told the Salt Lake Tribune.
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion operation, opposes the bill, calling it government interference in the family.
The Utah Department of Health estimates that 195 girls had abortions in Utah two years ago, according to the latest statistics available. Twenty-four of the girls were younger than 15 and 171 were 15 to 17.
Meanwhile, Gibson says he’s confident his bill can be upheld by the courts.
“I wrote this bill specifically with the intention of making sure it passed constitutional muster. I’ve done everything possible to make sure that it won’t be challenged," Gibson told the Salt Lake Tribune.
TAKE ACTION: Contact your legislators and urge strong support for the parental consent bill to help reduce the number of teen abortions. Go to https://www.le.state.ut.us.