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Parental Consent Essay, Research Paper

Does Parental Consent Work?

Abortion is a controversial issue that can cause uproar for many families. When a young girl is thinking about having an abortion, she is making the choice on whether or not to go through with a pregnancy. One of the biggest controversies right now, about abortion is parental consent. If a girl is under the age of eighteen, she must have parental consent before an abortion can be performed. At this time, thirty-nine of the fifty states have a law that requires either parental consent or parental notification. Parental consent has been found to reduce the number of teen pregnancies and teen abortions and restores parental rights.

Many states have either parental consent or parental notification requirements before an abortion can be performed on minors. Parental consent means that a teenage girl must have permission from her parent if she is under the age of eighteen years old to have an abortion. Parental notification means that a teenage girl must tell a parent, but she doesn t need their permission. Some states have other requirements. Nineteen of the fifty states have waiting periods. The waiting period is usually 24-to-48 hours before an abortion can be legally performed and some the states also require counseling stressing the disadvantages of having an abortion. Many of the states have specific laws that identify when an abortion can be performed and whether or not the parents always have to be consented or be notified.

The Virginia law is specific on its requirements. For instance an unmarried girl under the age of eighteen and not living on her own must notify one of her parents no less than 24 hours before having the abortion. The Virginia law also waives the requirement that if the doctor who is going to perform the abortion has reason to believe that the girl was abused or neglected can perform the abortion without the parents being notified. The girl can bypass the parental notification if she can prove to the judge that she is mature enough to handle the decision about having an abortion by herself. Many of the state laws are somewhat similar to Virginia s law, but differ in some aspects of the law. In addition, out of fifty states nineteen of them ban partial-birth abortion.

Anti-abortion advocates usually jump on the ban wagon to prohibit partial-birth because of the general idea of what a partial-birth abortion is. A partial-birth abortion is performed 20 weeks into the pregnancy in which the fetus is pulled through the cervix feet first after its head is punctured and the contents siphoned out. I understand why anti-abortion advocates would jump on the ban wagon because a partial-birth abortion is awful and I also understand why states ban the act. Those who support partial-birth abortion say that the act is only done when the woman s health is in danger or the fetus is severely deformed and doesn t have a chance to live.

Parental consent is very important. John Smithee, Representative of Texas, states that Just to notify the parents that their young daughter is undergoing an abortion is not enough. The parents should be ultimately involved in the decision making process. Smithee filed two abortion-related bills on parental consent and the rights of the unborn fetus. When representatives of states have strong feelings toward a controversial issue, they usually have quite a bit of force when it comes to the voting on the bill. Due to bills being passed for parental consent or parental notification, the number of teen pregnancies and abortions has been reduced.

The number of legal teenage abortions has been reduced in Minnesota since the parental consent law has been in effect. The teen pregnancy rate fell 20.5%, the teen abortion rate declined 27.4%, and the teen birth rate went down 12.5% in Minnesota after the first six years that the law went into effect. In the state of Mississippi the ratio of minors to adults who had abortions dropped by 13% after the parental consent law went into effect and also in Virginia the abortion rate dropped about 20% after the first five months that it was in effect. Many believe that parents have the right to know about the activity of their under age teenager.

John Pinkerton, Democratic Representative of California, states that Parents must give consent before their child can have their ears pierced or a tattoo put on. In fact, in public schools and emergency rooms, parents must give consent before their child can be treated with so much as an aspirin. What Mr. Pinkerton is trying to say is that until the girl has reached the age of eighteen, a parent must sign a permission slip for just about anything that the child does, so why should having an abortion be any different. Notification and consent laws help the pregnant teen get help in deciding what to do and get support from adults in the important decision on whether or not to have the abortion. The welfare of the girl should be a big deal when an abortion comes up as an option. When deciding to have an abortion or to continue with the pregnancy will most likely have a major long-term impact on the woman s emotional and psychological well being. When a young girl needs to make the decision, she needs the guidance and support of her parents. Even if the relationship between the girl and her parents isn t the best, she is better off with their guidance rather than not have any guidance at all.

Restoring parental rights can help the relationship between a teenager girl and her parents. In the beginning of a conversation between a young girl and her parents about having an abortion, the conversation might be hostile. Once the girl confides in her parents; then, she will have the guidance of her parents and their help in making the decision. She will be better off with their support than without their support. Having told her parents could help the family become stronger and allow the daughter to know that she can talk to her parents about anything. Restoring parental rights can help build the families and help the daughters make the important decision that will effect her for the rest of her life. A young girl never knows what her parents will say. They could tell her that they would help her with the baby or help her put the baby up for adoption instead of going through the risky procedure of an abortion.

Legislation is trying to get a new act put into effect. The act is called the Child Custody Protection Act. This act would make it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines in order to avoid state laws so that a minor may obtain an abortion. House Majority Leader Dick Armey believes that anyone who attempts to go around the relationship between parents and children deserve a stiff penalty. Parents are the only ones that know their child s medical and psychological history and, therefore, not consulting with parents may lead to health and safety risks of the child.

Parents and teenagers need to be educated on the options that the teenager has if she is pregnant. The educating the parents and teens on abortion can help them make the decision on whether having an abortion is the best choice. The teen could decide to go through with the pregnancy and then put the baby up for adoption. Having the parental consent law would make the educating of the parents and teens a better idea. Parental consent reduces teen pregnancy and teen abortions and restores parental rights.

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