By Grace Hemmeke, Right to Life of Michigan Events & Outreach Coordinator
Over the past year, the abortion debate has been hotter than in recent memory. The target now—children. Planned Parenthood and some state legislators recently announced their intention to remove parental consent protections related to a minor child undergoing an abortion.
Unsurprisingly, nearly 70% of Michiganders support parental consent laws for a minor’s abortion decision. Like statutory rape laws, alcohol restrictions, and driver’s licenses, parental consent is a way to guard and guide young people during a vulnerable time in life. This is common sense.
It would be negligent for the state to actively remove parents’ rights in this area, and the consequences would be devastating.
Abortion is a medical procedure with substantial risks, recognized both by the Food and Drug Administration, as well as by society at large. The FDA labeled the abortion pill cocktail with “Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies”, designed to inform women about the kinds of adverse effects taking the abortion pill might have, such as incomplete abortions. In surgical abortions, perforation of the uterus and possible sterilization are serious risks that a woman faces. Mental health issues are common among post-abortive women, with suicidal tendencies, substance abuse, and eating disorders being among them.
Another major danger associated with repealing parental consent laws is that it would remove legal protections and outside support from foster children facing pregnancies resulting from abuse. Without parental consent laws in place, a child’s only ongoing advocates would be cut off from the situation traumatizing the child yet again. This is particularly worrisome with the high rates of abuse of children in foster care. Additionally, if a parent is unwilling or unable to authorize an abortion, current parental consent laws provide an option for a judicial bypass.
Parental consent imposes limits on the dangers children face. Abortion comes with inherent dangers which ought to be limited. A pregnant girl might understand what an abortion is, what it does, and how to get one, but this does not mean that she sees the big picture of her future life, health, and happiness, all of which are at a certain degree of risk when she considers abortion.
With the many pressures young people already face, it would be reckless to remove parental consent for abortion. Instead, let’s recommit ourselves to ensure any child in a crisis situation does not face it alone.