Senate Parental Notification Bill Would Stop Teen Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 18, 2011   |   12:40PM   |   Washington, DC

Members of the U.S. Senate have introduced new pro-life legislation designed to protect the rights of parents when it comes to their teenage daughters having an abortion.

Senator John Boozman, an Arkansas Republican, introduced the Parental Notification and Intervention Act, legislation that he says would arm parents in every state with the right to stop teen abortions. The bill, co-sponsored by five other Republican senators, requires that parents be notified by certified mail at least four days in advance of any abortion to be performed on their minor daughter and gives them power to stop an abortion from being performed.

The four-day waiting period in the bill, S. 1005, is designed to give parents the power to use legal action to block the abortion in court and the legislation makes it so a district court would be required to issue an injunction preventing an abortion on a young girl’s baby “until the issue has been adjudicated and the judgment is final.”

“The court shall issue relief permanently enjoining the abortion unless the court determines that granting such relief would be unlawful,” the bill says.

Boozman said, “We need to work to promote an appreciation for the family and for all human life. As a father I understand the importance of being involved in the lives of teenagers. Parents need to do what is best for their children and they need to be aware of decisions they make to protect them from a potential lifetime of guilt for having aborted an unborn child.”

The senator pointed to national polls showing nearly 80% of Americans agree parents should have the legal right to stop an abortion from being performed on their minor daughter.

“Many states such as Arkansas have enacted laws requiring parental notification. However without a federal law parents in those states are not required to be notified when their daughters go out-of-state for an abortion,” he said. “Also, judges exploit loopholes in state laws by granting “judicial bypass” so often times the law is not enforced.”

The Parental Notification and Intervention Act punishes abortion practitioners who do not follow rules set forth in this bill including fines of up to $1 million, 10 years in prison or both.

Boozman says parental notification laws have proven effective at the state level — citing how Texas’ teen abortion rate has dropped 25% since passage of its parental notification law in 2000 and Virginia and South Dakota have had similar results since parental notification laws were passed more than ten years ago.

The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Dan Coats (R-IN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Jim Risch (R-ID) and John Thune (R-SD).

The bill would also help combat the problem of secret abortions done on teenagers, especially those who are victims of statutory rape. In April, for example, Planned Parenthood quit defending a secret teen abortion done on a girl victimized by statutory rape.

A lawsuit in which Planned Parenthood was recently found to have violated an Ohio informed consent law has been “resolved and dismissed,” according to the Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney who filed the suit. ADF-allied attorney Brian Hurley represented the parents of a girl who, at age 14, was brought to a Planned Parenthood clinic for an abortion by the 22-year-old soccer coach who impregnated her.

“The health and safety of young girls is far more important than Planned Parenthood’s desire to make money on an abortion,” said ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden. “This lawsuit was yet another clear demonstration of Planned Parenthood’s ongoing effort to put its profit margin ahead of the true needs of young women. If they truly cared about the girls who enter their doors, they would not be ignoring Ohio law and allowing statutory rape to occur so they can make money killing a baby. They also wouldn’t be trying so desperately to keep all of their records secret.”

In December 2010, the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas determined that Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio Region violated state law when it failed to meet with the 14-year-old girl at least 24 hours prior to giving her the abortion. Following this, a psychologist found that the abortion had caused her to suffer significant psychological harm, including post-traumatic stress disorder. The case was “resolved and dismissed” shortly thereafter.

Hurley, one of more than 2,000 attorneys in the ADF alliance, filed the suit Roe v. Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio Region on behalf of the girl’s parents when they discovered that Planned Parenthood allowed her to undergo the abortion at the behest of her soccer coach.

Neither Planned Parenthood nor the soccer coach notified the parents of the abortion or the sexual relationship.  Planned Parenthood also did not notify civil authorities, which is required in cases of statutory rape. The soccer coach was convicted of sexual battery and served three years in prison.

ACTION: Contact your U.S. Senate members at to urge support for the bill.