Roundup: When a 15-Year-Old Gets an Abortion

Teenage pregnancy is never an easy topic to discuss.  We always hope parents can talk to their kids about waiting to have sex, and about taking the proper precautions if they do not.  And, should the worst happen and they find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy, we hope that they feel they can talk to their parents about what is the best option going forward. 

We also recognize that although those things happen in a perfect scenario, you often find situations where they don’t.

A 15-year-old girl in an affluent suburb of Seattle found herself facing an unplanned pregnancy, and chose to terminate that pregnancy without speaking to her mother about her choice.  Her mother has taken the opportunity to take her anger out on both the school that facilitated the abortion and the clinic that performed it, regardless of the fact that her mother gave them permission to do both.

The mother of a Ballard High School student is fuming after the health center on campus helped facilitate her daughter’s abortion during school hours.

The mother, whom KOMO News has chosen to identify only as “Jill,” says the clinic kept the information “confidential.”

When she signed a consent form, Jill figured it meant her 15-year-old could go to the Ballard Teen Health Center located inside the high school for an earache, a sports physical, even birth control, but not for help terminating a pregnancy.

“She took a pregnancy test at school at the teen health center,” she said. “Nowhere in this paperwork does it mention abortion or facilitating abortion.”

The representative from the program points out that the mother signed a form stating her daughter could independentantly consent to a wide variety of medical assistance.

“The form describes what the parent is consenting to, but also illustrates what a youth may independently consent to,” T.J. Cosgrove, King County Public Health Department Manager for School Based Programs, told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross Wednesday.

Cosgrove read the consent form to Ross: “Youth may independently access reproductive health care at any age. They may independently receive drug and alcohol services and mental health counseling from age 13.”

Because Washington state does not have a parental consent or notification law, the teenage girl would have been completely able to walk into any reproductive health center and request an abortion on her own, without notifying her parents, should she have chosen not to access one through the school.

The mother, who didn’t find out until later when her daughter had an unrelated health issue that she had earlier had an abortion, claims both that her daughter is pro-life, and that her daughter was told she must “conceal it from her family” in order to not have to pay for the procedure.

The incident, “Makes me feel like my rights were completely stripped away,” [the girl’s mother] said.

Of course, forcing the daughter to have to get parental permission, or possibly even be talked into carrying to term because that is what her family would prefer, would be stripping her rights away instead.

Bonus Quote: In regards to Rep. Bart Stupak no longer getting a “defender of life” award from the Susan B. Anthony Candidate List Fund, and no one else being selected as a replacement:

“The sensibility was — you invite the prom date and then they dump you at the last minute. And then you call somebody else at the last minute and say, hey, do you want to go with me?”


March 24, 2010


Obama Signs Executive Order on Abortion TodayABC News

Abortion looms as election issue after US reformsReuters

The Political FalloutAmerica Magazine

BUYBC: Time to Close the Gap on EC AccessHuffington Post

Health-Care PostmortemNational Catholic Register

The Early Word: Nukes, Banks, AbortionNew York Times

Kelly McParland: Michael Ignatieff’s abortion fixationNational Post

Neugebauer follows apology for outburst with adThe Associated Press

Away from the Cameras, President Obama to Sign Executive Order on AbortionABC News


Obama signs executive order on

Health Department: Student’s abortion outlined in consent

ObamaCare Passed But Passed Up Reproductive JusticeSheWired

Obama to sign executive order on abortion out of sight of media glareWashington Post

David Akin: Liberals rue abortion debacleNational Post

Bart Stupak Left Threatening Messages for Health Care Vote (Listen)CBS News

Obama signs order affirming law on abortionThe Associated Press

Photo worth 1000 wds, blackout tells allThe Swamp

Erbe: Neugebauer’s nastiness on displayScripps News

Gee, Thanks Bart Stupak, for that BOGUS Executive OrderChristian News Wire

Obama quietly signs executive order affirming federal ban on abortion fundingLos Angeles Times

Mother Upset Seattle School Arranged her Daughter’s Abortion Without

Catholics greet health care reform with regret, enthusiasmThe Catholic Transcript

Rep. Henry Cuellar calls Obama abortion order reassuringDallas Morning News

School AbortionFOXNews

Christians and Health Care Reform: No Baby Killers HereHuffington Post

Abortion, immigration issues collide in NebraskaThe Associated Press

Without Stupak, Anti-Abortion Group’s Dinner Goes OnNew York Times

In defense of Bart StupakWashington Post

Obama signs abortion order into Health Care Reform Bill to continue no federal …

Reproductive justice takes a hit in Obamacare – Bay Windows

Stupak receives

Immigration foes, abortion opponents clash in Neb.AZ

Neugebauer Vows to Continue Speaking Out Against

Both sides of abortion issue quick to dismiss orderUSA Today

NJ gov’s budget hits Planned ParenthoodTown Hall

Liberals in turmoil after defeating own motion on overseas abortion, contraceptionWinnipeg Free Press

Upside-down family planning in MarylandBaltimore Sun

Guyana launches national HIV prevention principles, standards and guidelinesUNAIDS

The do-it-all DoulaAirdrie Echo 

March 25, 2010

SC Lawmakers Advance Abortion BillCBS News

School Clinic Sets Up Secret Abortion For Underage StudentIndyPosted (blog)

‘Baby killer’ outburst fuels Republican’s new funding adHouston Chronicle

Obama has angered women’s groups by reaffirming no federal funds for abortionWashington Post

Obama issues low-key order on abortionsThe Associated Press

Abortion Lobby Agrees: Obama Executive Order Is a “Symbolic” Fig LeafThe New American

Anti-abortion group will not back Rahall, MollohanDaily Mail – Charleston

Obama signs an executive order on abortion policyThe Detroit News

Pro-choice is an ideology, tooOttawa Citizen

“They are willing to trivialize the abortion issue”California Catholic Daily

Obama issues order to fortify abortion limitsNWAOnline

Health care subtractions denies women rights over their bodiesThe BG News

Family planning follyBaltimore Sun

Dallas Researchers Fighting To Find HIV VaccineCBS 11

HIV prevention effort shifts to ‘status awareness’Bay Area Reporter

Catholic HIV stance causes uproarNew Era

Young, African American Women Talk about HIV/AIDSWashington Informer

China’s New Requirement for Women in Space: Married with ChildrenTIME

Push to restore prenatal services failsOmaha World-Herald

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  • elyzabeth

    If the mom wanted to be informed about the intimate details of her daughter’s health care; she should have spent years building a healthy relationship with her daughter and actually earning her trust, not just expect the legislation to act as a substitute. 

    • equalist

      Trust in parents has to be earned by the parents, and it’s not something that a parent can suddenly decide they want from their kids.  I’ve worked hard from their births to cultivate that kind of trust and ensure that both my daughters can come to me with any trouble or issue no matter how big and scary, and it’s already paid off when my four year old was molested by a neighborhood punk.  She came out and told me what happened the same day, something that many children her age aren’t able to do, and I’m so proud of her for it.  People don’t realize how important it is for children to have that kind of trust in their parents until something happens, be it teenage sex and pregnancy, or something far, far worse.  The important thing is from a young age to LISTEN to your kids without judgment to the small stuff, so they feel like they can come to you with the big stuff when they need to. 

  • jk


  • curtisp

    I saw this on yesterdays news.  The mother gave the press what looks like a prom photo of the girl with just the face part of the picture fuzzed out.  It probably will not take very long for all the other kids at Ballard High to figure out who it is.  I don’t know if it was on oversight or if the mother did it to humilliate her daughter, but it was distrubing.  Perhaps there is a good reason why this girl does not communicate with her mother. 

  • heather-corinna

    in an affluent suburb of Seattle


    Just FYI, Ballard is a neighborhood in Seattle within the city, not a ‘burb (I know because I live here).  And when it comes to economics, the median income in Ballard is about the same as it is for the city as a whole.


    The distinction is especially important because for many inner-city teens, our in-school health clinics are so important, especially with providing sexual healthcare.  For some, it’s the only place they get care at all.

  • bj-survivor

    Elyzabeth. When I got pregnant 25 years ago at age 15 and the sperm donor, also 15, absconded, I turned to my mother. I’d have turned to her even if sperm donor hadn’t absconded, because I’d have wanted her to be there with me. Fortunately for me, my mother is unequivocally pro-choice. I had already discussed with my boyfriend prior to having sex with him that if our birth control should fail that I was in no way ready to be a parent and thus would terminate the pregnancy and expect him to pay for half. My mother, being the incredibly supportive feminist and loving mother that she is, cried with me, held me, and then explained that I had three options: (1) Continue the pregnancy and she would help me raise the child. (2) Continue the pregnancy and give the child up for adoption. And (3) terminate the pregnancy. I chose to have an abortion because I was in no way ready to be any kind of parent at that age and I certainly wasn’t going to foist that responsibility off on her.


    *edited for grammar/sentence structure

  • princess-rot

    This teenager’s instincts were not far off the mark. I’m not surprised she wouldn’t confide in her mother when her mother’s first reaction to finding out was to go to the media. Actually, if you thought that the clinic would give your daughter birth control, wouldn’t it logically follow that they could also facilitate abortion? It never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t think of abortion as part of reproductive healthcare, when it falls on the same spectrum. They view it as something completely separate, and tend to think about prevention in the form of abstinence or birth control, when in reality that is what abortion is about: it’s preventing a birth. Most people seem to be overly concerned with the prevention of sex, and they lose sight of the rest of the picture in the middle of their moral panic.

  • saltyc

    Oftentimes children are more mature than their asshole parents.

  • saltyc

    Moral panics not conducive to communication. Teen girls are the victims of the silence, imposed by their own unfortunate parents.

  • rachel-larris

    Fair point Heather, but as a former resident of Seattle and editor of the North Seattle Herald-Outlook it’s worth pointing out that Ballard High School is the newest, shinest one in the Seattle public school district. It is one of the most requested high schools that Seattle parents want their kids to attend. Ballard isn’t the richest neigborhood, but it’s fair to point out that it is far from the poorest and the school itself is state-of-the-art.

  • elyzabeth

    Plus, this story only got picked up because people like to think about 15 year olds having sex. 

  • heather-corinna

    Good to know (I haven’t been inside the school myself, though I’ve been in others in the city). 

    My concern is, though, that presenting the neighborhood itself as an affluent burb instead of the in-city neighborhood it is, an understanding may get lost when it comes to the value of the in-school clinics here; as in, in the city of Seattle, not just at Ballard HS.