On Monday, February 2nd at 1:30 PM in the Senate Law and Justice Committee, there will be a hearing on SB 5289 which will require parents to be notified before a minor has an abortion.
The United States is one of only six nations in the world that allow abortion on demand into the third trimester and Washington is one of only thirteen states currently where a minor can get an abortion without her parents awareness.
We are on the fringe of the fringe.
Abortion is the only procedure a minor can get without her parent’s consent, much less notification. In Washington State, a minor cannot get a tattoo or go to a sunbed even with parental permission. She cannot go to an R rated movie or get an aspirin from the school nurse without parental permission.
However, she can get an abortion without their awareness.
There are a couple problems with the lack of parental notification. First, it isolates girls from their parents in moments when they most need parental involvement.
Since medical providers are not obligated to notify parents when a minor indicates she wants an abortion, they are only required to report if a rape has occurred. In the case of a pregnant minor, that means the father is more than 5 years older than the mother.
Unfortunately, the mandatory reporting requirement for rape is easily avoided by serial abusers.
Under the threat of abuse, pimps teach the girls they abuse to lie about the age of the father and organizations like Planned Parenthood tell clients to say as little as possible so they can maintain plausible deniability. As a result, those who claim to be –and should be– looking out for the best interest of these girls are in reality assisting in the abuse of children. Our lack of parental notification makes it possible.
Opponents of the bill claim that parental notification endangers girls whose parents might become abusive when they learn their daughter is pregnant. They say the girl should decide what her parents know.
They assume that in crisis you can trust the judgment of the typical pregnant 15-year old better than the judgment of the typical parent. While it is understandable why a girl would not want to tell her parents, it is equally understandable why it would be good for her parents to know despite the child’s reservations.
Acknowledging that there are too many abusive parents in the world, it is an insult to every parent in Washington that the abortion industry and their allies in the legislature act as though they have a duty to protect our daughters from us.
By requiring parental notification, this bill acknowledges that it is generally a good thing for parents to know what is going on with their children. However, it also contains a judicial bypass provision which would allow a judge to waive the parental notification requirement in the minority of cases in which a child actually could be in danger. It protects those truly at risk without assuming every parent is a danger. That’s what rational public policy should do.
The possibility that parents might respond poorly to news that their daughter is pregnant is an argument for keeping parents out of every decision. After all, parents might also respond poorly to news that their child has committed a crime or received bad grades in school. But for good reason, we still tell them.
The argument that we should favor keeping parents in the dark in order to protect the children is incoherent. That incoherence exposes the fact that the more likely explanation has much more to do with money the abortion industry makes off of children which eventually finds its way to political campaigns.
Parental notification is not an issue about abortion. It is an issue about parental rights and the well-being of our daughters. It is a disagreement between politicians who pretend they care more about our children than we do and the parents who know better.
Please attend the hearing on Monday at 1:30 PM in Hearing Room 4 of the John A. Cherberg building on the capitol campus. The hearing room is certain to be full, so show up early. Even if you do not wish to testify, your presence communicates the injustice of this issue to legislators who have been dragging their heels for years on this issue. Please bring friends as well and call ahead to schedule meetings with your legislators in person to share your thoughts on this issue.
If you cannot attend the hearing, please call your legislators directly or through the legislative hotline at1-800-562-6000. You can also email them by clicking here.
Thank you for rejecting passivity and standing for what is just.