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PRO-LIFE BASICS: Should we celebrate laws requiring parental consent or notification for abortion?

There are at present 38 states that enforce laws requiring parental consent or notification. There are many pro-life experts who claim, “Statistics and common sense demonstrate that parental consent laws (with judicial bypass) are always more effective in reducing abortion among minors than parental notice statutes” (“Parental Consent Laws Cut Teen Abortions by 18.7 Percent,” LifeNews.com, February 8, 2013).

But whether we are talking about parental notice or consent, the reality is that a parent has the right to be notified, or is required to give consent, prior to a minor’s abortion only if the huge legal loophole known as judicial bypass is not put into play. The judicial bypass option is available in 37 of these states. A teen daughter can bypass her parents by requesting a judge’s approval to get an abortion. If the judge agrees, the abortion occurs. Judicial bypass provides an escape route for the teen or counselor who does not mind bending the rules to facilitate the abortion.

And that’s not the whole story. We live in a nation of laws and regulations that, on the one hand, will not allow a school nurse to provide aspirin without parental consent, but in many cases, will allow purveyors of contraception and abortion to enter the classroom without any warning to parents. These people plant poisonous seeds in the minds of the young that often flower into a desire to abort, at any cost, when a pregnancy occurs.

Some experts suggest that, in our day, many parents don’t care what their teens are doing or learning. We are told that such parents welcome the idea of the school taking over the role of mother and father. Other parents find such wrongheaded thinking highly offensive. But it is the law itself that is the numberone enemy of parental rights.

The underlying message of both parental notice and parental consent laws is that, if Mom and/or Dad says yes to the killing, then the abortion can be committed. The parent of the adolescent—who is also the grandparent of the preborn child—is complicit in the abortion, yet is legally protected from ever being accused of wrongdoing.

A law that allows a grandchild to be killed with a grandparent’s consent is not good news. And this tragic situation begs the question, How many Mother’s Day or Father’s Day celebrations have been marred by the knowledge that, if not for decriminalized abortion, there would be grandchildren celebrating as well?

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About the author

Judie Brown

Judie Brown is president of American Life League and served 15 years as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.