Olympia: Protecting Daughters from their Dads

Today, I’m writing to those of you who, like me, are dads of daughters. 

There’s something we need to be aware of.  The government in Washington State thinks we’re a danger.  Not necessarily always, but they’re pretty sure there are some situations where it’s best we don’t know what’s going on with our girls.

What am I talking about? 

In Washington State, parents have to give their permission for their kids to ride the bus to the zoo or get their ears pierced, but they don’t even have to know if their 15 year-old daughter gets an abortion.

Abortion is the only non-emergency surgery that can be performed on a child without her parent’s permission, much less awareness. Apparently, it’s ok for parents to know what is happening with their children, medically speaking, unless she gets pregnant.

Forty-five other states have passed laws requiring parental involvement in a minor’s abortion decision. 

On Wednesday, February 6, at 1:30pm, the Washington State Senate Committee on Law and Justice will hold a public hearing in the Cherberg Building, Senate Hearing Room 4, on SB 5156 which would allow Washington to join those 45 states in making sure parents are involved with their daughters at the most critical moments of their lives.  

Sadly, this bill has opposition.

I’m asking the other dads of daughters out there to join with me in communicating to our elected officials that our involvement in our daughter’s life is not what is endangering them. 

The whole situation seems a bit backwards. We see ourselves as the men who cried the day we met them,  got wrapped around their fingers, worry ourselves silly when we don’t know where they are, and spend our lives trying to figure out how to make their world better.  Despite the fact that they frequently do things we wish they wouldn’t, we find it very hard to believe that anyone in the universe cares more about their well-being than we do.  

The State of Washington, however, sees it differently.  They see us as the men that our daughters should be protected from if they wind up with an unexpected pregnancy.  

Sen. Karen Keiser said she believes kids should be allowed to keep their parents in the dark because, “Young women have been abused, beaten or even killed after their parents found out about an unwanted pregnancy.”

From their perspective, our girls should decide if they want us involved. Almost makes sense. There’s no reason to question the judgment of a 15 year-old pregnant girl is there?

It’s those parents we can’t trust.

It is true that in rare and tragic cases, parents have mistreated their daughters when they were pregnant. The bill accounts for these situations through a judicial bypass clause, which allows a girl who has reason to believe her safety would be at risk should her parents be notified to explain that fact to a judge, who could then make an exception to the notice requirement.   

The problem with the status quo is that the state has assumed the worst about every dad in Washington State and made it state policy to keep us in the dark about our children in the moments they need us most.

If you’re a dad that has daughters like me, I hope this bothers you.

I hope we prove them wrong by taking this opportunity to show how hard we’re willing to fight for them.

Call your state legislators through the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 (email them here), and let them know how you feel about the subject.

Or, show up in Olympia at 1:30pm this Wednesday to stand up for the right to be our daughter’s dad.

C’mon, dad. Do it for your daughter.


Posted by Linda Corpe on February 8, 2013
Teenagers should definnatly have to have their parents involved in their pregnancy & abortions. They need to be guided. Hopefully God's teachings will be included. I believe it is murder to have an abortion. My sister had an abortion as a teen and didn't know it was murder. Now she does and is regretful. It is better to teach abstainance. If that is not possible, then teach birth control. If that is not possible, then teach adoption. Adoption is always an option. But don't kill the innocent little babies. We need the parent involved, YES!
Posted by Jerry Runge on February 6, 2013
As a parent i am very involved in my childrens lives. Parents are responsible for the actions of their children, so they need to be informed of a pregnancy. If nothing else to love and guide them.
Posted by Gayle Norton on February 6, 2013
I am extremely supportive of SB5156 to notify parents if their minor child is pregnant. Don't make the small percentage of abusive parents dictate the passing of a law that is very harmful on many levels. 45 other states have passed this law, Washington State must do the same.
Posted by Maria Roozen-Roach, RN,C on February 6, 2013
Dear Elected leaders of the voters of Washington State, As a nurse who has spent 13 years teaching Sex Education in the schools and a mother of 5 children it is important you know that the number one person young people still want to listen to and guide them through difficult decisions in life is their parents (USA Today Poll, 2010). Young people have a right to be cared for and guided by someone who has their best and long term interests in mind. We need to keep parents involved in their child's decisions that carry life long consequences. The more we undermine healthy parenting, the more broken our society. Thank you, Maria Roozen-Roach
Posted by Marten Guthrie on February 5, 2013
Dear legislators, please act decisively to protect our daughters and their parents from invasive interference by well meaning do-gooders who would create laws that would remove the natural and lawful protection of the parental guardians of their health. consider that laws should be consistent and regulated first by common sense for the majority with exceptions for unusual circumstances, rather than basing law on a few abusive situations. thank you Marten Guthrie
Posted by Don and Bernice Kooy on February 5, 2013
Please, Please, protect our grandchildren! Let our girls and their parents get through every difficult situation together. Please vote to join the 45 states with wisdom! Thank you! Don and Bernice Kooy
Posted by Don Millard on February 5, 2013
Dear Legislators, I am Strongly in support of SB5156 to notifify parents if their minor daughter is pregnant and requesting an abortion. A parent needs to be apart of their daughers life in this crittical time. Please do the right thing, and also support this bill. By far most fathers are caring and loving toward their families and need to be allowed to help their family at this crittical time of life. I know, my daughter was one of the girls we speak of, and I did hold her and cried with her , telling her how much I loved and cared. TOGETHER WE MADE IT THROUGH. Jared, her son is now 12yr and LIFE IS GOOD.
Posted by Ted and Eileen Gifford on February 5, 2013
We believe that fathers and mothers should not be excluded from the decision of a teenage daughter to have an abortion. We brought them into this world and gave them all that they have and we love them more than anyone else could possibly do. We should have the right to help and councel them in a decision so important as this. Please see that we have that right. Ted and Eileen GiffordUWZT9
Posted by Julie Scott on February 5, 2013
Please support SB5156. An abortion is a physically and psycologically tramatic experience at best. It is also important to remember that there is a very real possibility of complications or even life threatening situations that can arise with this proceedure for these girls. In these situations, these girls need their parents to help them through these life and death decisions. Since there is a provision all ready in place to protect a girl from potentially abusive parents, why would government try to hide these girl's abortions from their parents? It is purely for political reasons. Because if it were truly for the safety of the girls, the government would want to have the parents informed and involved to help these girls through such times.
Posted by Alison McIrvin on February 5, 2013
No one can love my kids and be more concerned for all aspects of their health and safety than me. The state should support my rights as a parent to look out for and protect my daughters and sons. I implore our legislators to support SB5156
Posted by John Alger on February 5, 2013
Joseph, Would have liked the capability to share this article on facebook. As it is, I 'liked' it, but having it posted on my page where my 100 friends would have seen it...that's have much greater impact, I think. Still from Aberdeen...Still in Sequim...Still admiring your committment to this fight.
Posted by Doug Miller on February 5, 2013
Our society, our world, and our very existence as a people depend upon the strength and integrity of the family. It is imperative that we pass legislation to support the family and the home, not break apart homes and prevent parents from fulfilling their responsibilities. If my daughter were to ever have any problem, I would absolutely want to be involved to support and help her through her trials. While there may be those parents who would pose a danger to their pregnant, unwed daughter, they are far outnumbered by loving, responsible parents whose only desire is to help their children. Thus, we should vote that parents of minor children should be notified and be involved in any decisions regarding abortion.
Posted by Carolyn Nichols on February 5, 2013
I am asking, with respect, that those in the legislature consider the future of every young woman who finds herself facing an unplanned pregnancy. I have 5 daughters. We communicate; we trust one another; they believe that their Daddy and I make(and have made)decisions with their best in mind (all 5 are now grown);I had to sign papers giving permission for missing school days, for piercing ears, for field trips w/a trusted teacher...etc. Certainly common sense makes it clear what needs to be done here, for the health (mental,physical, emotional), of each young woman in our state. Please recognize what 45 other states in our Union have done already, and vote for SB5156 to inform parents of a minor daughters pregnancy and potential abortion. Thank you!
Posted by Lorraine Smith on February 4, 2013
The ONLY reason SB5156 would be unable to pass here in WA state is if a group with plenty of money were to pad the pockets of some influence peddlers with an agenda of de-population figures. Hopefully the planned parenthood/cps people are overwhelmed by an aware & angry public!
Posted by Richard Lathrop on February 4, 2013
Parental consent for minors and and ultrasound for anyone else would be steps I the right direction. It's shameful that we even find ourselves having this dialogue.
Posted by Kenneth E. Crider on February 4, 2013
If a man allows GOD who is LOVE to control his life. No one will be able to control him are his family!because, he has a covenant with GOD. He has GODS word on all matters of his life.
Posted by Kenneth E. Crider on February 4, 2013
The word of GOD says whatever a man sows that! shall he also reap. The only one who can change that is the man who sows what he wants to reap. No man can change the laws that almighty GOD! HIMSELF has set in motion.The real Question is! who of all his children is doing it GODS way.There is a way that seems right to man! but, the end thereof is the ways of death. proverbs 14: 12;. Will we not get what we sow! if we sow the RIGHT SEEDS. BEMOREBLESSED. K.E.C.
Posted by Michelle Nathan on February 4, 2013
Parents should Always be involved in the decisions regarding their minor age children especially when it involves a "life changing" decision such as an abortion. Please vote to have Washington State join the other 45 states in assuring that parents can and will be available for their daughter's who have to make a decision regarding an abortion. Thank You, Michelle Nathan
Posted by Veryl Kooi on February 4, 2013
Please support SB5156. Teenage girls need the support and counsel of their parents when making decisions about their child--the grandchild of their parents.
Posted by JoAnn K. Peterson on February 4, 2013
Dear Legislators, Please join with the other 45 states and support SB 5156. Children need the support of their parents on such a critical decision that could impact them for the rest of their lives. Sincerely, JoAnn K. Peterson
Posted by Mari Phillips on February 4, 2013
WA should join the other states in protecting our girls.
Posted by Terry Trudel on February 4, 2013
I hope that Washington State will support a bill that requires notification of parents prior to a minor having an abortion. Young women with an unplanned pregnancy need the emotional support that is most likely to come from parents.
Posted by Alice Kidd on February 4, 2013
Please support SB5156. I cannot understand why this is not already a law. Parents are responsible for everything else a child does, why is this action any different.
Posted by Corey on February 4, 2013
Does'nt surprise me with the state of Washington does'nt view the father nothing more then a sperm donor with no rights.This state is backwords on whole lot of issues in this country no wonder we are in the position we are in.
Posted by Mike Hasslinger on February 4, 2013
Who is this guy with common sense that seems so rare these days? Can someone clone this guy?
Posted by Mr. & Mrs. Virgil Huntsinger on February 4, 2013
Of course parents should be notified that a daughter is pregnant.
Posted by Steve Chronister on February 4, 2013
I have always found it illogical for abortion to be the only situation where parental authority can be circumvented. Any parent who would harm their daughter because she is pregnant would likly harm her for any number of reasons (don't like her boyfriend, don't like what she is wearing, staying out too late, getting a bad grade, wrecking the car, etc.). Why is abortion singled out? Further, to me, it is simply criminal - medically and emotionally dangerous - to not inform parents about such a monumental decision in their child's life.
Posted by Michael A. Thorpe, MD on February 4, 2013
As the father of 3 daughters, now grown and having babies themselves, I STRONGLY urge lawmakers to approve SB5156 so all of us parents who love our daughters/granddaughters can help them make very important life decisions such as abortion vs no abortion. Minors do not have the capacity to do this on their own in secret! This bill helps the great majority of minors! Thanks!
Posted by Patricia Sue Chartrey on February 4, 2013
The Parents must be informed. Pass SB5156, join the other 45 states, Keep Parents communicating with there kids.
Posted by Larry Hardy on February 4, 2013
Parents have the right to be involved in there children including Abortions. Please change the law that allows children to have a abortion without parents knowledge.
Posted by Jeanette Franz on February 4, 2013
I believe parents have the right to be involved in their child's decision to have an abortion. I am strongly supportive of SB5156 to notify parents if their minor child is pregnant. I have had a child that got pregnant as a teenage unwed mother, and the last thing I would have wanted is to have her feel she could not come to me for help, guidance, and support. Even though my daughter did not marry the baby's father, and it was a challenging time, we got through it together. We are closer because of it. The baby has become and amazing 10 year-old girl that brings much joy to all she interacts with on both sides of her biological family. Please, offer real help to teenagers in this situation that can make a positive difference in their lives by providing healthy alternatives, not destructive options that will leave a lifetime of heartache. Young people should never have to go through this decision without the help of their parents.The answer is not to hid their pregnancy from their parents, but to offer means of healthy communication resources that will open the door for positive forms of communication through a difficult time. Let's use our resources for finding proactive answers to a harsh situation. Sincerely Jeanette Franz.
Posted by Steve Chronister on February 4, 2013
I have always found it illogical for abortion to be the only situation where parental authority can be circumvented. Any parent who would harm their daughter simply because she gets pregnant would likely harm her for any number of reasons (she stays out too late, gets a bad grade, don't like her boyfriend, don't like the way she is dressing). Why single out abortion? Further, to me, it is simply criminal - medically dangerous and an abuse of power - to not inform parents about such a monumental decision.
Posted by June Trieb on February 4, 2013
We must not let the actions of bad parents adversely affect the lives of countless good parents. Daughters "in trouble" need their parents' help. The last thing that they need to do is to go through an abortion, in secret!
Posted by Jill Flood on February 4, 2013
Dear Legislators, I am strongly supportive of SB5156 to notify parents if their minor child is pregnant. As a former school nurse I could not administer even an aspirin at school without parental consent. You must act reponsibly and pass this law to ensure parents can be notified and offer support and information if their minor child should become pregnant. Sincerely, Jill Flood R.N.
Posted by Laura Perry on February 4, 2013
I believe parents have the right to be involved in their minor child's abortion decision. Please vote to have Washington State join the other 45 states in assuring young girls have their parents available to help them make this very serious decision. Thank you, Laura Perry
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