by Steven Ertelt
May 10, 2006
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life lawmaker who sponsored a bill that would require parental permission before an abortion can be performed on an underage teenager is upset that the state’s health department is dragging its feet on creating the form for abortion businesses to use. He says that means some teens could be getting abortions without parental consent.
Rep. Phil King, a Republican, told a legislative panel Tuesday that the delay could allow some abortion facilities to get around the new law.
"Why is it 11 months after y’all passed a law, we passed a law, and it’s still not in effect in Texas?" King asked the House State Affairs Committee.
The Houston Chronicle reports that the committee is studying the problem — as it has been nearly a year since pro-life Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed the measure into law.
The Chronicle reported that officials from the Texas Medical Board, which implements the law, claimed that it is in full effect.
The officials said abortion businesses are using the same form they used under the previous law, which only required notifying parents when their teen daughter is considering an abortion.
Dr. Donald Patrick, executive director of the medical board, said the board has been trying to create a form that appeals to both sides in the abortion debate. According to the Houston paper, he informed the committee that the board had little experience implementing new abortion forms.
"We had to get up to speed ourselves to know what was going on," he admitted, according to the Chronicle, "Never before have we been involved in anything like this."
Patrick also said that various groups have objected to a draft of the new form and another proposal was set for a vote at a public meeting June 2, but he thinks it won’t be approved.
One contentious issue is whether parents must get the consent forms notarized and the proposal calls for parents to do that only if they sign the consent form outside the abortion facility. King said it should be notarized when parents are at the abortion facility as well.
"Otherwise, it carries no more legal significance than a note to go on a field trip," King told the newspaper.
During the committee hearing, King played a tape recording of a 16 year-old girl’s phone call to an abortion business and staff there told her an older sister or aunt could give her permission for the abortion instead of her parents.
Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life, gave King the tape, and said he would forward a copy to the medical board, the state attorney general, and other authorities.
"It sounds to me like there’s been a violation of the law, pretty clearly," he told the Chronicle.
Meanwhile, abortion advocates, including a Planned Parenthood spokesman, claimed abortion facilities are abiding by the new law.
A March study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found Texas’ older parental notification law reduced the number of teen abortions for teenagers across the board.
The results find that abortions on 15 year-olds dropped 11 percent, on 16 year-olds dropped 20 percent, and fell 16 percent on 17 year-olds.
Pro-life advocates hope the consent requirement will lower those teen abortion numbers further.