Legislatures Protecting Women, Teens From Unsafe Abortions

State   |   Bill Saunders   |   Jun 1, 2011   |   1:57PM   |   Washington, DC

It is a brave new world in the grisly business of abortion.  Movement is underfoot to make chemical abortions more accessible, even if it means compromising women’s health to do so.  

In fact, in the state of Iowa a doctor is not required to examine a patient before prescribing chemical abortifacients – he can simply consult with her via the Internet.  Further, recent revelations like the atrocities committed in Kermit Gosnell’s abortion mill further demonstrate that the term “safe, legal abortion” is often a medical fiction.

The abortion business poses even higher risks for minors – particularly minors who do not inform their parents that they are pregnant and planning to obtain an abortion.  Studies show that minors are more susceptible to the risks of abortion than are older women.

A few examples:  minors are up to twice as likely to experience cervical lacerations during abortion; they are at greater risk for post-abortion infections, such as pelvic inflammatory disease and Endometritis; drugs producing a chemical abortion have never been tested on minors (RU-486 has only been tested on women aged 18 to 46); the Guttmacher Institute has acknowledged that because minors are less likely than adults to take prescribed antibiotics or follow other regimens of treatment, they are at greater risk for subsequent miscarriage, infertility, hysterectomy, and other serious complications.

In a study led by pro-abortion researcher D.M. Fergusson, in teens aged 15 to 18, those who became pregnant and carried to term had a 35.7 percent chance of experiencing major depression, but those who aborted had a 78.6 percent chance of experiencing major depression; in teens, the chance of experiencing anxiety after abortion was 64.3 percent, and the chance of suicidal ideation was 50 percent.

Fortunately, these concerns are not lost on Americans. State legislatures are seeing widespread interest in legislation requiring parental involvement in a minor’s abortion decision or strengthening exiting requirements.

In late May, Nebraska’s governor signed into law a requirement that minors obtain parental consent before an abortion (Nebraska previously had a parental notification law).  New Hampshire’s legislature passed a parental notification bill with a veto-proof majority and is awaiting the governor’s signature.  New Hampshire’s bill corrects constitutional infirmities found in their 2003 parental notification law that was ultimately repealed by the legislature.  Montana also passed a parental notification bill to replace their existing, enjoined law (the governor of Montana vetoed the bill).  Florida passed a bill that adds teeth to their existing parental notification law, and Maine is still considering a parental consent bill that would close loopholes in their existing law.

The message is clear – Americans are concerned that their daughters are at risk from sloppy, unsafe abortions and those who might benefit from encouraging a minor to obtain a secret abortion.  We know that parental involvement in a minor’s abortion decision is desirable, and gives parents the opportunity to discuss all options with their daughters – including having the baby.  At Americans United for Life we are vigilantly working to assist state legislatures in enacting constitutional parental involvement laws and strengthening their existing laws.  The stakes could not be higher.