Research Says Parental Involvement Laws Don’t Limit Abortions


We all know that parent involvement laws (laws that are designed to decrease abortion rates by requiring minors to get parental permission or notify their parents before getting an abortion) are unconstitutional. A recent review of research from the Guttmacher Institutute shows us that the laws hardly even impact abortion rates. In fact, many of the laws simply create barriers for minors trying to get abortions without consulting their parents, resulting in more late-term abortions.

From the article:

"Previous Guttmacher research found that 60% of minors who have an abortion talk to their parents about their pregnancy and desire to have an abortion. However, many among the 40% whose parents do not know about their pregnancy report they would experience physical violence or abuse if their parents knew. For these teens, mandating parental involvement can have serious and damaging consequences."


Frightening. There are other problems with the laws, too. According to the article the laws in one state led to an increase in teen birthrates, because many minors couldn’t travel out of state to access abortion where the laws don’t exist.

Not surprisingly, what actually lowers birthrates and abortions among minors is sex education and access to contraceptives. The Guttmacher article also mentions the old yet relevant argument that:

 

"Even making abortion illegal does not reduce the abortion rate, it only makes it more difficult to obtain and less safe. According to worldwide abortion research, the lowest abortion rates are in Western Europe, where contraceptive services and use are widespread, and safe abortion is easily accessible and legal under broad grounds. By contrast, Africa, Asia and Latin America have the highest abortion rates, even though abortion is generally restricted and often unsafe."


There’s so much evidence disproving anti-abortion legislation, it’s difficult to believe lawmakers are still attempting these types of laws. Not only are the laws unconstitutional, they do the exact opposite of what they’ve been implemented to do. It’s time we scrapped them.

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  • invalid-0

    Which is why we as progressives should press for FOCA at the federal level, when we get rid of more Republican anti-coicers in the next election. I have known two teen girls whose parents were extreme right conservatives who didn’t know that their daughters had abortions. I also know one who was very anti choice, until their daughter was pregnant and the burden would be on them, who took their daughter to have an abortion. It became obvious that they were against abortion for other women, not their own. (to keep women dowm as far as competition.) We need more people to speak out against parental choice laws. It is the woman’s choice, as it is HER life.

    • http://www.ma-dissertations.com/dissertation.php invalid-0

      Great post!Any how many among the 40% whose parents do not know about their pregnancy report they would experience physical violence or abuse if their parents knew. For these teens, mandating parental involvement can change the things around.

  • invalid-0

    I strongly support parental consent laws. If my twelve-year-old girl comes home pregnant, and says she wants to grow the pregnancy and be a mom (it’s just the sort of goofy idea she’d get, too) she should damm well need my consent. Which she would not get. If necessary I’d strap her down and do the abortion my own self.

  • the-watcher

    So you’re anti-choice as well, I see?

    • http://www.travelallrussia.com/tours/ invalid-0

      Yes,I agree with that.His quotes clearly show how anti-choice he is.I guess everyone will find that.dont you guys???

      • http://www.water-damage-services.com/citiesphp/water-damage-miami-water-restoration-service-repair-miami.php invalid-0

        Yes i agree with that and he seems to antichoice,I dont encourage such kind of stuff

  • invalid-0

    Good thing you can’t and that your child is a person with rights. Maybe you should try talking to your kid (if you even have one) instead of treating them like a possession.

  • invalid-0

    Your claim that the post you link states these laws are unconstitutional is wrong. That post discusses some aspects of these laws relating to one particular talking point, that it’s the same as taking an aspirin or going on a field trip. But that article makes no claim, that I can see, that the Supreme Court has ever said parental laws themselves or in all forms are unconstitutional. (I think the post’s discussion of the aspirin is incomplete, since it fails to discuss when schools have had kids expelled for possession of aspirin or ibuprofen or for taking them or when one kid gives on to another kid (for menstrual cramps for instance.)

    I support abortion rights, I support free speech, I support sex education at early ages.

    I support parental notification laws with judicial bypass.

    Elsewhere at RHRealitycheck, there is an argument that Steve Waldman, as a man, should STFU about Bristol Palin and women’s choices. Why? Because as a man he is not involved in the consequences.

    So what are the consequences of teen pregnancy and who pays for those consequences? Most likely it’s the parents. Who has to take care of the newborn? Who has to try to get both newborn and teen parent to doctors, to schools, while maintaining jobs and things like that? The parents.

    So by RHREalityCheck Logic, the parents apparently should be involved in the discussions regarding their daughter’s reproductive choices.

    But even worse is that many people, including kids, maybe especially kids, turn out to be poor judges of relationships, and unable to detect abusive relationships, and unable to break them off, and unable to understand the consequences of those. And so parental notification laws with judicial bypass are necessary to detect “boyfriends” who are abusers, or rapists, or statutory rapists.

    The argument against parental notification with judicial bypass is to protect the kids who have abusive parents AND meet with abusive judges. But in this day and age of the court, it is far more likely that judicial bypass will be overseen by a small contingent of judges well versed in the issues.

    Who are you really protecting here? And who are you leaving out?

  • joe-veix

    Hi Anon —

    The link you pointed out does address the constitutionality of parental involvement laws, in the second paragraph of the article. It also debunks common talking points, as you rightly pointed out.

  • invalid-0

    just screams respect for your daughter. Damn, do I feel sorry for her.

    • invalid-0

      The argument against parental notification with judicial bypass is to protect the kids who have abusive parents AND meet with abusive judges Custom Term Papers. But in this day and age of the court, it is far more likely that judicial bypass will be overseen by a small contingent of judges well versed in the issues. Who are you really protecting here? And who are you leaving out?

  • invalid-0

    So let me get this straight. You pro-abortion folks fight against parental involvement laws, but:

    a) 60 percent of teens tell their parents anyway — so then there is no reason not to have these laws in place.

    b) 40 percent of teens fear physical violence form their parents? Really? Then you’re saying that there are literally tens of thousand of teenagers facing violence in their homes. Assuming the statistic is true, why aren’t pro-abortion groups speaking out on this supposed mass epidemic of teens subjected to violence at the hands of their parents. Oh yeah, because while it is tragic it is a rare occurrence and not a real reason to oppose parental involvement laws.

    c) if these laws don’t reduce abortions, then your claims they are a barrier to abortion are false. You can’t have it both ways.

    Someday maybe you compulsory abortion advocates will get with the 70 percent of the country that realizes leaving parents in the dark when their daughters have major surgery that could pose life-threatening conditions is anti-woman.

    PS Joe, you’re a guy. Who cares what you think. This is a women’s issue.

  • invalid-0

    If 60% of people already do something, there is no need for a law (unless control of others’ body is your kink).
    The post indicated that of the 40%, not the remaining 40% but of the 40%, some of those girls or women will experience physical violence at the hands of her parents.
    You mock the idea that tens of thousands of children are beaten up by their parents every day in this country. You should really check your facts before climbing up on your high horse; violence against women is an epidemic in this country and you should take it seriously. Unless again, control of others’ bodies is your kink.
    Lastly, the report indicated that parental consent laws make it harder (create barriers) for girls or women to obtain abortions, not that these laws prevent abortion. Criminality of abortion doesn’t prevent abortion; criminality just makes it harder and more dangerous for women to obtain. And as you are probably aware, but conveniently dismiss, pregnancy is much more dangerous than legal abortion so your “major surgery” with “life threatening conditions” is just something you say to try and sound more relevant. Doesn’t make it true however.
    You so-called pro-life folks have demonstrated over and over again that you don’t care about the actual, living and breathing woman that are here on this earth. You have demonstrated they aren’t equivalent to non-childbearing people (men) in terms of autonomy and free-will. You anti-choice folks don’t care about the actual children that are born. You only care about controlling the bodies of women and girls.
    Sickening really.

    PS put up a link to the peer reviewed study that says 70% of the country thinks the absence of parental consent laws is anti-women or just shut up.

  • http://rezvsale.com/ invalid-0

    Well,Its not the question of choice or antichoice,Minor should not be pregnant which try to eradicate the abortion rate.

    • http://www.water-damage-services.com/citiesphp/water-damage-miami-water-restoration-service-repair-miami.php invalid-0

      Yes i agree with that,Well its in the hands of the parents how to guide the children and how they should not.
      Thanks for sharing.

    • invalid-0

      Well it totally depends on the parents how they make their childeren grow and how they grant their rights.
      shipping company

    • http://www.powernetshop.at/angebote/ invalid-0

      The parents. So by RHREalityCheck Logic, the parents apparently should be involved in the discussions regarding their daughter’s reproductive choices. But even worse is that many people, including kids, maybe especially kids, turn out to be poor judges of relationships, and unable to detect abusive relationships, and unable to break them off, and unable to understand the consequences of those.

  • http://www.rezv-review.com/rezv-review/rezv-resveratrol/ invalid-0

    This post is getting a little too heated, maybe folk should focus on the discussion points a little.

  • http://www.bestteethwhitenersreview.com/about invalid-0

    Its a hot topic, of course it will get heated!

  • http://www.jdmd.com invalid-0

    There are currently twenty-one states that require parental permission for a teen abortion and eighteen states that do not. There are also fourteen states that require a parental notification before performance of an abortion on a minor. The notification law requires that parents be notified, but permission of a parent is not necessary to go ahead with the procedure.

  • http://www.englishlink.com/Translator_ENG_HTML.asp invalid-0

    Laws that limit a teenager’s right to an abortion are constantly being challenged in court. It has been argued that a teenage girl has the same rights as an adult woman when it comes to making decisions about her body. It has also been argued that certain circumstances might require abortions to be done immediately and do not allow much time for parental notification. Opponents of these laws question its inflexibility and its invasive nature to the rights of the minor. Research has shown that at least eight percent of all abortions conducted are on adolescents. Even though parental consent is required in most states, teenage girls tend to hide their true age. Clinics will then go ahead and perform the procedure without notifying the parents.

  • progo35

    Personally, I think that parental consent should be the rule because children have to get their parents consent before they can have an aspirin. If we’re requiring parental consent for that, than it is completely illogical not to require it for a surgical procedure like abortion.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    children when they are capable of reproducing. Second, yours is a silly straw argument- any teen can go into any store and buy aspirin. I don’t belive that parents have the right to control their teens bodies or choices, and that goes against a womans constitutional right to a safe and legal abortion. Birth is far more dangerous than abortion, and we don’t need more Bristol Palin’s in the world, we need less. Look at how adult SHE has to be now, but she has rich parents who support her,other parents might throw her out of the house when they find their teen pregnant. We need to protect thise girls!!

  • progo35

    Legally, a person is a child until he or she is eighteen. Yes, they can buy aspirin themselves but they can’t have it given to them at school unless their parents give permission, which is stupid, but that’s how it is.

    All that aside, abortion is a a surgical procedure and I feel that parents have the right to know if their daughter is going to undergo surgery. That doesn’t necessarily hang on my pro life convictions, either. It’s just common sense to require some level of parental involvement.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    Progo35, the argument against parent-consent/notification laws is that when such parental involvement is a net positive, no law is needed to compel it—much like no law is needed to compel tipping at restaurants—and when it is a net negative (e.g. abusive parents who fly off the handle at finding their daughter is pregnant), the law can make a difficult situation dramatically worse. Some of these laws have judicial-bypass clauses, but these are difficult for a minor to navigate, not well-suited to the situations in which bypasses are needed, and can delay an abortion far longer than necessary.

    Parental consent is needed for many things concerning their child, but the nature of pregnancy and the abortion decision puts it in a different category than a request for aspirin. Pro-choicers will give all encouragement to a young woman to confer with her parents regarding her unwanted pregnancy and possible abortion, while at the same time recognizing that there are times where this is really not desirable.

    Keep in mind that if and when a young woman chooses to keep her parents in the dark, that doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s going to have an abortion alone. She could very well go to a trusted aunt, uncle, grandparent, or close friend—and there is little reason to believe that she would ever actually want to grapple with an abortion alone.

    Pro-choicers oppose mandatory-parental-involvement laws because (1) such laws presume that parental involvement is always a good thing, (2) the legal system is terrible at navigating this sort of terrain (how does a judge determine that a close friend can get involved, if s/he has no legal relationship to the woman?), and (3) these laws are often passed with the same ulterior motive as all too many other laws purporting to “help” women seeking abortion, which is to put as many hurdles in their path as possible.

    I suggest you investigate the debate on this a little more, Progo35, because you are approaching it from a naive point of view that contributes nothing to the discussion.

  • invalid-0

    Legally, a person is a child until he or she is eighteen.

    In most states 16 and 17 year olds can legally consent to sex. It logically follows that if a girl is able to consent to sex she should also be able to consent to an abortion. If you want to change it why not work towards upping the age of consent?
    Besides, if a teenager does not feel able to go to her parents in such a situation they’ve failed as parents anyway.

  • progo35

    I think that’s pretty hard on the parents. That depends on the state, but there is something very wrong with considering 13 year olds women and having them just go and get an abortion without anyone but the counselor at Planned Parenthood knowing about it. What if the girl is on medication that could interact with drugs used during the surgery? What if she is being abused by an adult who got her pregnant and the abortion provider doesn’t report that? What if she starts exhibiting emotional problems or other issues related to the abortion and the parent has no idea what’s going on? Is that in the best interests of the girl involved? I know that there are some situations where parental notification isn’t the best but as imperfect as the process is, that is what judicial bypass is for.

  • invalid-0

    Interesting that once an under-aged girl decides to go forward with a pregnancy, she acquires medical autonomy, and her parents may not interfere with her decisions, nor access her records w/o her permission.

    Why is that…does everyone think.

  • progo35

    I don’t think that that is okay, either. Parents should have access to their daughters’ records when she is pregnant-they can’t force her to have an abortion, determine whether to place the baby for adoption, or decide how she is going to deliver the baby, but they should have access to what’s going on if the person involved is under 18.
    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • harry834

    Progo brought up three possibilities:

     

    1. "What if the girl is on medication that could interact with drugs used
    during the surgery?"

    2. "What if she is being abused by an adult who got her
    pregnant and the abortion provider doesn’t report that?"

    3. "What if she
    starts exhibiting emotional problems or other issues related to the
    abortion and the parent has no idea what’s going on?"

    I think point number 2 is stronger than 1 and 3, because points 1 and three may not involve the parent’s actual involvement as much as point 2. Though I would assume that parental involvement can help, and may be needed. 

    Perhaps it weighs down on how streamlined the judicial bypass is. Ms Magazine did a good article about two years ago on teen girls differing experiences with judges, some helpful, some not.

    The question is: should a teen girl need a judicial bypass if she wanted to keep the pregnancy and the parents were against it? From reading that parent who said "I’ll strap her down and do it myself", forced abortion is as much as reality from parents as forced pregnancy.

     

  • invalid-0

    there is something very wrong with considering 13 year olds women and having them just go and get an abortion without anyone but the counselor at Planned Parenthood knowing about it

    What makes you think that this is anything more than an ludicrously unlikely hypothetical scenario that adds nothing to the argument? Are you honestly suggesting that…

    1. A 13-year-old girl would engage in sex (which is rare enough in itself—most teens become sexually active around 16-17, IIRC);
    2. This pregnant 13-year-old would go to an abortion clinic, alone, without having even confided her quandary to an adult she trusts;
    3. That the abortion counselor ignores the fact that this 13-year old girl is alone, and that her parents are out of the loop for anything less than one hell of a good reason?

    Your scenario only makes sense if basically everyone in it stops acting like human beings. A 13-year-old girl who behaves as you posit would be a flat-out sociopath—and you’d better believe that abortion counselors are trained to turn away women who are not mentally competent to choose to have an abortion.

    This is what I hate about so many anti-choice arguments—scenarios that are populated by cartoon characters instead of human beings. The mythical woman who enjoys having abortions, or who finds a $50 Plan B pill more convenient than a $0.50 condom, or who walks into an abortion clinic thinking the fetus will be removed but not harmed… they come up with these characters that simply don’t exist in the real world. It makes as much sense as saying that TSA screeners at the airport can find bad guys just by watching out for top hats, handlebar mustaches, and monocles. These are arguments that should be laughed into oblivion, but because it’s women’s judgment that’s being attacked, people treat them as though they were legitimate.

  • airina

    …abortion providers are mandated reporters.  Meaning they have to report abuse and statutory rape.  So point 2 is irrelevant, too.

  • harry834

    It is important to gather as much data as possible, and I’m happy we can work together to put it together.

    I think that at least some of the fears of parental-involvement supporters (or those on the fence) make sense. That doesn’t necessarilly mean these laws should exist. It ultimately comes down to weighing costs and benefits on both sides: risk/benefit of having the procedure without consent vs risk/benefit of with consent; risk/benefit of having procedure at all vs risk/benefit of not having procedure.

    For example,

    I think (in my current opinion which may change) that gender-reassignment surgery and or hormones for teenagers justifies parental consent in a way that abortion does not. Why? Because gender hormoses/surgery is an ongoing, irreversible process and the cost of having the kid wait is minimal in the sense that their body will be the same healthy body years later if and when they do decide for surgery. However, the cost of waiting to have an abortion is far greater: unwanted pregnancy, and the threat of late-term abortion, if that’s even allowed. A teen who waits for gender surgery can wait. A teen who waits to end their pregnancy is facing a growing pregnancy!!!

    Despite all the horrible things feared and disliked about abortion, it is a generally safe procedure, often (not always) safer than childbirth. Obviously done early it can be very safe, and if complications do come up they may be manageable in a way that a BABY, adoption, teen motherhood are not.

    You have to wonder about the parents who would force their child to have a pregnancy and be a teen mother. You have to also wonder about the parents who would "strap her down and do the abortion myself". Both these examples are opposite ends of the parental force possibility.

    At the same time, there is room in my mind for the possibility of parents to NOT force, but to help. I do think many if not most parents will pressure their kids to have abortion, and if they are pro-life then they will have the abortion in private. This "presuure" may or may not be force, but I feel that pro-lifers, like the commenters here, would be screaming "child abuse" at the thought of parents pressuring their kids to have an abortion. I actually saw a commercial where a teen mother claimed to be facing such pressure. At least pro-lifers support chioce half the time.

    I do think that it is hard, hard, hard for a parent to stand by and allow their daughter to choose teen motherhood. There should be sympathy for the worries of these parents, and of course emotional and (if possible) economic support. But it seems both pro-choicers and pro-lifers would agree that a pregnant teen should not choose abortion just because her parents are making her/telling her to do it.

    So the dilema of parental consent lives on…But public policies have to be made in the here and now. We can have perfect, risk-free laws, but we can try to account for as many risks as we can. 

  • progo35

    Yes, abortion providers are mandated to report abuse, but that doesn’t mean that they do report it. There have been many documented instances of PP not reporting statuatory rape and other forms of abuse. Like I said, parental involvement laws may delay or inhibit abortions, but their role is supposed to be protecting the minor by requiring that the parents at least be told. As a pro life person, I don’t view that as a tool for inhibiting abortions. I think that common sense abortion restrictions based on how far along the woman is and why the abortion is being sought, combined, of course, with contraception and support for pregnant women, is the appropriate way to stop abortions. 

     

     

     

    Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • harry834

    "Like I said, parental involvement laws may delay or inhibit abortions,
    but their role is supposed to be protecting the minor by requiring that
    the parents at least be told."

    I think there is truth to this, but I think we need to specify exactly how the telling to parents gives help, or avoids hurt.

    And good point about the ways that some doctors will hide, even though the law says they must report. Laws don’t guarentee.

  • progo35

    Anon-that’s ridiculous. A thirteen year old who engages in sex and doesn’t tell anyone because she’s scared and then goes to an abortion clinic alone is not a sociopath-she is scared. As for abortion counselors, I believe that some of them would believe so strongly that abortion is the right choice in this decision that they would provide the abortion without telling anyone.  

     

     

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    A thirteen year old who engages in sex and doesn’t tell anyone because she’s scared and then goes to an abortion clinic alone is not a sociopath-she is scared.

    So scared that she’s not going to talk to anyone? Not a grandparent, or aunt, or cousin, or grown friend, or the mother of a friend…? So we’re talking about a precocious 13-year-old who has basically no support network, and thus presumably no social life, and yet was able to get involved enough with a young boy to get to the point of consensual sex. Congratulations, you’ve come up with the argumentative equivalent of a Googlewhack.

    Even supposing that there are a few such young women, what do you expect would happen when they talk to the counselor? If one says, “Please, I need this abortion, if my parents find out they’ll take away my XBox!” then she’s going to get some help on how to deal with that, but she’s not going to get an abortion. If she says, “Please, I need this abortion, if my parents find out they’ll disown me and kick me out onto the street! They already did that to my older sister!” then the discussion would proceed. And it should proceed, whether or not abortion is decided to be the best course of action.

    As for abortion counselors, I believe that some of them would believe so strongly that abortion is the right choice in this decision that they would provide the abortion without telling anyone.

    If it is the right course of action, then yes. Are you suggesting that an abortion counselor would have a minor go through an abortion if it were not the best course of action for her? (Keep in mind that an abortion counselor is not an abortion advocate—they are trained professionals who serve the patient’s needs, not their own, nor those of a cause. If they are in this line of work due to a pro-choice inclination, then let me remind you again of the significant difference between being pro-choice, and pro-abortion.)

  • progo35

    Anon-you’re just giving an example of someone saying what she needs to say in order to be more sure of getting an abortion. And what, once again, happens when the thirteen year old says, "My twenty five year old boyfriend raped me, and if my parents find out, they’ll throw me out on the streeet! They already did that to my older sister!" The abortion counselor is then less likely to report the abuse because the report could lead to the minor’s parents finding out. 

     

     

    Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    Progo35, please stop. You don’t understand what counseling is about, and your ignorance is leading you to make silly statements. The example I gave is contrieved and overblown; real life would be more subtle and complex than that. Real life, in general, is more subtle and complex than you think it is. If and when you can make an argument that takes that into account, then have at it. But as it stands, you’re making an argument about robots, not human beings.

  • progo35

    For your information, I do know what counseling is about. As you said, the example that you gave is contrieved and overblown, so how is that my problem when responding to it? You’re the one that made it sound like there was some password she has to know, and that’s not the crux of my objection to not having any parental involvement. Stop insulting people’s intelligence and making uninformed statements about their frame of knowlege.

     

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    For your information, I do know what counseling is about.

    You think it’s about the young woman saying something to the counselor, and nothing more. It’s a conversation. And if you think that a 13-year-old girl is going to pull the wool over the eyes of a trained professional, on a subject that is likely more emotionally fraught than anything she has ever had to deal with before, then you’ve got very little of value to say on the subject.

    Most times, parental involvement is a good thing. Sometimes, it isn’t. There are reasonable-sounding arguments people have made for the point that the latter category doesn’t exist. So far, you’ve yet to articulate any of them. If my appraisal of your frame of knowledge is faulty, then feel free to prove me wrong.

  • http://www.rezv-review.com/resver-xp/resver-xp-21-day-free-trial-offer-whilst-stocks-last/ invalid-0

    If a person is legally a child until 18, the parent should be have full power over any decisions regarding their child. How is that wrong? What kind of society has it become? Where do you draw the line? At what age?

  • invalid-0

    If a person is legally a child until 18, the parent should be have full power over any decisions regarding their child.

    Even if the parent is abusive? Even if the parent does not have their child’s best interests at heart?

    You’re assuming that a parent will always do what’s best for their child. While this is true in the majority of cases, it is not true in 100% of them—and if you just blindly assume it is always true, then you are leaving a small minority of children in terrible danger.

  • farhaj

    Now that is a really very indecent act. Its more like comiting a murder. One should take care early if he doesn’t want to come up to this stage before commiting any such activiies that finally result upto this stage.

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