British MP Introduces Bill for Parental Notification Before Teen’s Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 13, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British MP Introduces Bill for Parental Notification Before Teen’s Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 13
, 2007

London, England ( — A British lawmaker is introducing a bill similar to laws in the United States that require a teenager’s parents to be notified before she can have an abortion. Studies have shown such laws have cut the number of abortions on teenagers in half, but the British version isn’t likely to get adopted.

Angela Watkinson, a Tory member of the British parliament, says teenagers should have guidance from their parents on "very serious" issues like abortion.

If a British teen gets advice on either abortion or contraception, the girl’s parents would be told about it under her bill.

The law would impact the roughly 4,000 girls under the age of 16 who get abortions every year in the European nation.

Watkinson talked with the BBC about her legislation, which comes up under the Ten Minute Rule, meaning it will likely get a debate but not a vote.

"Very young children are bombarded with information about sex, information about contraception and then an assumption is made that they are going to make wise decisions with this information," she said

She said this was "quite illogical," and said the decision to have an abortion was "far too serious … for a very young girl to reach on her own, or with the advice of a stranger."

"I feel very strongly parents ought to be involved in these very serious life-changing decisions," she said.

The bill will come up in the House of Commons on Wednesday and research from December shows it’s needed.

New statistics from the British Department of Health revealed that more than 100 teenage girls every month have a second abortion and some of those girls are having a multiple abortion. The statistics show some teenagers are using abortion as a method of birth control.

According to the figures, 1,316 girls under the age of 18 had a second abortion during 2005 with 90 girls having a third abortion.

Another 44 women had undergone eight or more abortions including 20 who were under the age of 30.

Despite the grisly figures, the Department of Health claims it’s making progress in reducing teenage pregnancies with a combination of abstinence and sexual education involving the promotion of birth control.

On its web site, the British health department claims "Between 1998 and 2004, the under-18 conception rate has fallen by 11.1 per cent and the under-16 rate by 15.2 per cent. Both rates are now at their lowest levels for 20 years."

In total, there were 186,416 abortions in the UK in 2005 including more than 60,000 on women who had had a previous abortion. Among the 18 to 24-year-old group, 16,474 had a second abortion while 3,060 were on their third.