Connecticut Catholic Bishops Back Bill to Require More Teen Abortion Counseling

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 9, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Connecticut Catholic Bishops Back Bill to Require More Teen Abortion Counseling Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 9
, 2008

Hartford, CT ( — The Connecticut Catholic bishops say they support a bill in the state legislature that would increase the requirement for teenagers to get counseling before an abortion from 15 years of age to 17. Abortion advocates claim they already give girls impartial abortion counseling but one pro-life group wants to get the counseling out of the abortion business.

State law has required girls 15 years-old or younger to get counseling and pro-life advocates want to increase the age requirement, especially since the state doesn’t require parental notification or consent.

Bishop Michael Cote of the Norwich Diocese told The Day newspaper that the Connecticut Catholic Conference had “severe reservations” about supporting the bill.

However, he said, “the conference feels this legislation is a step in the right direction in protecting the interests of girls who find themselves in the position of having to make a very difficult decision.”

Cote told the newspaper that he viewed the bill as a first step in protecting parents and their children through legislation in a future session implementing parental notification or consent.

The Select Committee on Children has already approved the bill on a 9-1 vote and the Public Health Committee will consider it next.

When it does, Planned Parenthood officials will likely tell legislators the bill is unnecessary as Planned Parenthood of Connecticut vice president of public affairs and communications Susan Yolen claimed that was the case in an interview with The Day.

“It’s already happening,” she said of the counseling the bishops want. Any patient of almost any age gets adequate counseling prior to an abortion. Certainly, we encourage every patient to involve family.”

While that may or may not be the case, Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, told the newspaper he wants the bill to be amended to prevent he counseling from taking place at the abortion center since abortion facility staff routinely “sell” the abortion to teenagers.

“That’s an inherent conflict right there, because it’s the abortion provider who benefits financially from providing that service,” he said. “Ideally, we would like to see a bill that at least requires that the counseling comes from someone who is not connected to the abortion provider.”

Yolen lobbied against such an idea claiming Planned Parenthood doesn’t counsel for abortions and saying it would cost the state money to hire an outside agency to do the counseling.