Thursday, March 29, 2012

Do parental consent laws endanger minors?

At the web site of Public Discourse, Teresa Collett, Professor of Law at University of St. Thomas School of Law, takes apart the arguments of those opposed to laws which require parental consent or notification before an abortion.

A subcommittee of the House of Representatives recently heard testimony about the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA). CIANA is legislation designed to prevent minors from crossing state lines to avoid following their state's parental involvement laws. Abortionists in states without parental involvement laws will often advertise in states with parental involvement laws.
The New York Times editorial disputed this claim, criticizing CIANA on the basis that teens "have reason to fear a violent reaction" and will "resort to unsafe alternatives."

These objections are repeatedly voiced by abortion activists. Yet they ignore published studies, many of them by the Guttmacher Institute, a research institute founded by Planned Parenthood, demonstrating that less than half of pregnant teens tell their parents of their pregnancy and very few experience ill effects from the disclosure.

According to a national study conducted by researchers associated with Guttmacher, disappointment is the most common response of parents who learn that their teen daughter is pregnant, and almost no parent responds with violence. Teens reported an increase in parental stress as the most common consequence of disclosing their pregnancy. Less than half of one percent of the teens reported that they were "beaten."

The claim that minors will resort to unsafe alternatives is equally bogus. A 2007 study of self-induced medical abortions reported no cases involving children or adolescents. Similarly, notwithstanding the fact that parental involvement laws have been on the books in various states for over thirty years, there has been no case in which it has been established that a minor was injured as the result of obtaining an illegal or self-induced abortion in an attempt to avoid parental involvement.