Parental Notification for Abortions Performed on Minors

Published on May 9th, 2022

Memorandum of Support

Re: A.3780 DeStefano

In relation to parental notification for abortions performed on minors

The New York State Catholic Conference supports the above-referenced legislation which would support parents in the discharge of their parental responsibilities and promote the structure and stability of the family unit. This bill would require 48 hours’ notice to one parent prior to abortions performed on children under age 18.

The Legislature in its wisdom has long recognized and respected the guiding role of parents in the upbringing of their children. It has often determined that immature minors may lack the ability to make fully informed decisions and has taken action to protect them. Absent specific parental consent under the law, children under age 16 cannot get married, work in many professions, obtain tobacco products or tattoos, perform professionally in the arts or sports, go hunting, or have a tooth drilled. Abortion, a potentially traumatic surgical procedure with physical and psychological consequences, is the exception.

The vast majority of the public (71% according to a July 2011 Gallup poll) believes that parents have the right to know when their child faces the serious problem of an unplanned pregnancy; only 27% are opposed to parental consent for abortion. Despite initial disappointment, most parents will support their children through a difficult situation, no matter what decision is ultimately reached. Parents are often the only ones who can provide needed medical history, family background, allergies, and other information pertinent to surgery.

We recognize that not all families in this state are intact and functional. This legislation contains an expeditious family court “bypass” provision as an alternative for minors who fear parental abuse or reprisal. As you may be aware, this option for waiving the required parental notification is mandated by U.S. Supreme Court guidelines.

Thirty-seven states in this country recognize that parents are legally and morally responsible for their children in the area of abortion decision-making and require some form of parental involvement. In overlooking parents in the instance of abortion, our law does an extreme disservice to both parents and child.

We believe all unemancipated minors need the support, guidance, and protection of their parents, and parents in New York State need their rights and responsibilities restored. For the preservation of the family as a viable social unit and the very foundation of our society, we urge your positive vote for this legislation.