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Thu, March 21

Abortion: Parents' rights should equal parental responsibility

If your 13-year-old daughter wants to have her ears pierced or even get an aspirin from the school nurse, the chances are she will need parental consent. But if she walked into a clinic and had an abortion last week, you may never have known about it.

That's because groups like Planned Parenthood don't believe you have the right to know about your minor daughter's decision to have this life-changing medical procedure.

Fortunately, there are other groups like the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) who have fought to defend Arizona's abortion parental consent law.

On March 12 the state House voted 36-18 to strengthen restrictions on abortion in Arizona and update state abortion statutes to protect women, children, parents, and the civil rights of healthcare workers.

HB 2564, the Abortion Consent Act, now moves to the Senate.

One provision in HB 2564 is designed to spell out in statute what factors a judge may consider in determining if a minor is mature enough to have an abortion without first getting parental consent. It also requires that any parental consent form be notarized.

The people of Arizona have passed parental consent laws for more than a decade only to have them struck down and tied up in court. But now it appears that the voice of the people is finally being heard.

Abortion is a critical decision that carries a frightening list of dangers including an increased risk of infertility, possible links to breast cancer, ectopic pregnancy, complications in future pregnancies, depression and elevated suicide rates. It is hard to imagine how anyone can honestly convince themselves that parents do not have the right to be involved in this life-altering decision for their minor children.

We, as parents, are held legally responsible for the health and well-being of our minor children. We can even face criminal charges for neglecting that responsibility.

Perhaps Len Munsil, an attorney and CAP President, said it best, "Parental rights relating to the medical treatment of our children do not end at the doors of an abortion clinic."

A few notes about HB 2564

• HB 2564 makes needed changes to Arizona's parental consent law to ensure that parents are actually consulted before an invasive medical procedure is performed on their daughter.

• HB 2564 empowers women to make informed choices by providing them with full and accurate information about the risks and alternatives to abortion and time (a 24-hour waiting period) to consider that information.

• HB 2564 respects the rights of healthcare professionals so that they do not have to choose between their jobs and their religious beliefs about abortion.

• HB 2564 requires that only doctors perform abortions, ending the practice by Planned Parenthood Arizona of letting nurse practitioners with specialized training do early-term procedures.

• HB 2564 follows court rulings upholding the reasonable regulations that states can place on abortion.


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