When a Seattle mother authorized her child’s school clinic to provide emergency care, she pictured bandages for scrapes and splints on broken fingers. Times have changed.
While other students shuffled into class, this mom’s 15-year-old daughter strolled down the hall to Ballard High School’s health clinic. She took a pregnancy test. It came back positive. The nurse made a call. The taxi arrived, sending the teen to an abortion facility. She returned to school that day, no longer pregnant.
No one called her parents. No one dared to tell. And they didn’t have to. What happened was neither illegal nor unprecedented. Washington is one of far too many states without parental notification or consent laws. A person of any age can seek an abortion, in secret or not.
Of course there’s more to the story. According to her mother, the teen, who is said to be pro-life, recently disclosed how the abortion facility staff pressured her, telling her if she didn’t let her parents know, the abortion would be free. Otherwise, her parents would have to pay the bill.
Meanwhile, the school clinic maintained the consent form covers abortion, when in fact, it merely references “reproductive health care.” Whether abortion is included in that definition has been argued as of late. After all, the teen’s mother said if abortion were on the form, she never would have consented. And she‘s pro-abortion.
The point is, at the end of the day, most parents understand that their children need help making big decisions. To insist on parental participation in discussions about smoking, peer pressure, and healthy eating but shut parents out of a discussion on whether their grandchild should live or die is outrageous.
If you agree, there’s something you can do. Especially if you live in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington. Those states have either no notification or consent laws or unenforced regulations. Please, start talking about this important issue and encourage your elected officials to join the cause.
Some will cite extreme and tragic cases of abusive parents, but embedded in notification and consent laws are alternatives that protect the safety of minors. Turn back to that overarching goal of surrounding struggling teens with love, compassion and help – not leaving them alone in a valley of fear and uncertainty.
Electronic Media Specialist
Life Issues Institute
P.S. Our executive director, Bradley Mattes, is spending today celebrating his 30th wedding anniversary with his lovely wife, Ellen. Please join us in congratulating the “newlyweds” and wishing them a safe and speedy return!