Yesterday, KOMO News and other outlets reported that a Ballard High School mother was upset to find out that a school-based health center made arrangements for her daughter to have an abortion. Important note: Washington does not have any laws requiring parental notification or consent for abortion care, and state law actively protects the privacy of minors seeking reproductive health care.
Below is a statement from Lauren Simonds, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, in response to this story.
Washington state recognizes the fundamental right to privacy of young women and men with respect to reproductive health care decisions. In states without parental-involvement laws, 61 percent of parents knew of their daughters’ decision to terminate a pregnancy, but government cannot mandate healthy family communication. Laws requiring parental notice or consent actually harm the young women they purport to protect. Efforts to mandate family communication, however well-intentioned, often result in a young woman opting to forgo needed care. Our priority must be making sure young people get the medical care and information they need to stay healthy. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association oppose parental involvement laws. Parental-consent and notice laws endanger young women’s health by forcing some women—even some from healthy, loving families—to turn to illegal or self-induced abortion, to delay the procedure and increase the medical risk, or to bear a child against their will.