Parental Notification for Abortion

Published on June 19th, 2015

Summary

This bill would require 48 hours notice to one custodial parent prior to abortions performed on unemancipated children under age 18, or, in the alternative, a family court waiver of parental notification.

Conference Position

The Catholic Conference supports enactment of this legislation.

Rationale

In New York State, parents are required by law to give permission when their minor child has a tooth drilled or bone x-rayed, but they do not even have to be notified when their daughter is pregnant and considering the invasive surgery of abortion. Surely, parents have a right to know of a medical decision that could affect their daughter physically and emotionally for the rest of her life.

Because 90% of abortions in New York State occur in outpatient clinics, a girl is unlikely to have the benefit of conferring with a trusted family physician about her decision. Parental notification laws help to ensure that those who know her best talk to her about her medical history, the risks of abortion and the alternatives available.

Studies continue to show the positive impacts that parental involvement laws have in significantly reducing the rates of abortion, birth and pregnancy among minors.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that parental notification laws for abortions performed on minors are constitutionally permissible. Thirty-eight states have enacted parental involvement laws, and the majority of these laws require parental consent rather than notification.

In September of 1995, a Pennsylvania woman was charged with transporting a 13-year-old girl from Pennsylvania to New York to obtain an abortion without her parents’ knowledge. Pennsylvania law requires parental consent for abortions performed on girls under age 18. This highlights the need for consistent laws among all the states.

Repeated polls show Americans overwhelmingly support parental involvement laws. A July 2011 Gallup Poll found 71% of Americans in favor of parental consent prior to a minor’s abortion.

You can download this document, Parental Notification for Abortion, in PDF form.

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