Should Teens Be Able to Have Access to Abortion Services Without Parental Notification or Consent?

[ By on April 27, 2016 ]

In the year 2014, there were a total of 249,078 babies born by teenagers aged 15-19 in the United States, and an even greater number of pregnancies. Many of these teenagers elected to terminate their pregnancies, for one reason or another, but usually due to the burden of having a child at such a young age. Yet, some who may have wanted abortions were unable to receive them, again, for one reason or another, but sometimes due to the fact that they would be required to inform their parents, and the thought of doing so would inspire fear for how their parents might react. For many pregnant teens, informing one’s parents of one’s desire to have an abortion can be a very dangerous thing. These teens could come from violent or abusive familial backgrounds, their parents could unfairly coerce these teens into making a decision that they are uncomfortable with, or, in cases where parental consent must be given, prevent teens from having any decision-making capability at all. Currently in the United States, Twenty-one states require parental consent for a minor to have an abortion, three of these requiring the consent of both parents, and eight requiring that the consent document be notarized. Thirteen states require only parental notification, and five states require both notification and consent. Twenty-three states require parental involvement in the decision making of some kind even in the case that the minor is a victim of incest. If a teen wants to escape these requirements due to an unsafe familial situation or fear of coercion, they must petition the courts for permission, which can be an embarrassing and exhaustive process for the teen (data from advocatesforyouth.org). While minors typically do not have the ability to give autonomous consent to medical procedures without the approval of a parent or guardian, and we all certainly hope that pregnant teens will have a non-threatening, understanding and capable parent to turn to in their times of need, this simply is not the case. Pregnant teens should be able to have autonomy over what happens to their bodies and their lives without the interference of threatening and abusive figures, which is why I believe that all teens should be able to have access to abortion services without parental notification, and thereby without parental consent.

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8 Comments on “Should Teens Be Able to Have Access to Abortion Services Without Parental Notification or Consent?”

  1. sgadigianpadgett

    Kelley Nicholson-Flynn

    [ May 03, 2016 at 9:05 pm ]

    Hi Sara,

    Does the age of the pregnant teen have any bearing on whether you need parental consent? What about a 13 year old?

  2. sgadigianpadgett

    Jackie Perreira-Skillman

    [ May 04, 2016 at 3:15 pm ]

    Hi Sara,

    While I agree that abortion is a woman’s right to choose, it troubles me to think of what one would do in case something terrible happened to this teen while she was getting an abortion. This could include an abortion being performed ‘underground’ or by a more professional group, as there is always a risk involved. As a mom imagining that it was her own daughter, who once was a teen, getting this type of procedure without my consent, would terrify me. It’s sad to know that many daughters, for various reasons, aren’t able to confide in their parents.

  3. sgadigianpadgett

    Catherine Crocker

    [ May 04, 2016 at 8:52 pm ]

    Hi Sara,
    Are there any ways in which a teen can legally work around the requirement for parental consent? And, if so, it that “work around” a good solution? Why or why not?

  4. sgadigianpadgett

    Catherine Crocker

    [ May 04, 2016 at 8:54 pm ]

    Are there ways in a which a teen can legally work around the need for parental consent? If so, are those solutions effective?

  5. sgadigianpadgett

    Hi,
    I think this is a very interesting topic and I find it interesting that only twenty-three states require consent or notification. Have you looked at how teens feel after having an abortion and they have not had to get consent or notify their parents?

  6. sgadigianpadgett

    Abortion is a very sensitive debate that has many agreeable reasons to be pro or con on each side.But in the case of an unwanted teenage pregnancy I feel like your reasons to be pro abortion in this case are much stronger than those who are not pro abortion. Have you considered the background behind the pregnancy in whether or not a teenage girl should have the right to choose in you argument or do you strictly believe they should have the right to choose no matter what. Especially since there is sometimes negative affects to the body that happen after an abortion which are stated in an article by afterabortion.org. Do you have anymore articles you would suggest for someone to read while deciding their standpoint on this valid debate?

  7. sgadigianpadgett

    Remarkably absent in this detailed post “Should Teens Be Able to Have Access to Abortion Services Without Parental Notification or Consent?” is any mention at all of the life of the unborn child that would be taken by the act of abortion. Granted, some interesting (and valid) concerns about parental notification laws were brought forth by the writer of the post, but the lack of any (apparent) awareness or even acknowledgement of the unborn child leaves me with a heartbreaking concern. In most (certainly not all) cases, teens who are sexually active know full well that such activity can result in pregnancy. Willingness to engage in sexual activity without a willingness to allow a life conceived to then grow to term is a contradiction in my eyes. I would hope that any teen seriously exploring the ethics of abortion would, at a bare minimum, acknowledge that a life (indeed a precious life) is being lost by the act of abortion.

  8. sgadigianpadgett

    Michael Sclafani

    [ May 10, 2016 at 2:21 am ]

    Hi Sara,

    This is compelling, but I have two questions.
    Given that abusive parents may also respond poorly in other situations, should police be required to notify parents if their child is arrested?

    When you say “their parents could unfairly coerce these teens into making a decision that they are uncomfortable with, or, in cases where parental consent must be given, prevent teens from having any decision-making capability at all,” doesn’t that presuppose children have a right to make this medical decision for themselves? Could you explain why they do?

Hi Stranger, reply with your thoughts:

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