A Family First-commissioned poll last year found extensive support (4 out of 5 people) for parental notification when their daughter is pregnant and considering, or is being advised to have, an abortion.
In response to the question “Should the law require parents to always be informed before-hand if their daughter who is under 16 is pregnant and wants to have an abortion?” 79% responded yes, only 12% said no, and 9% either didn’t know or refused to answer.
“This is a very strong response, and is a rebuke to the politicians in 2004 who chose to exclude parents from this process when debating the provision in the Care of Children Bill,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “The coverage on the front page of the Sunday Star Times today reminds us of the urgency to change this legislation.”
“The law currently means that while a parent has to sign a letter for their daughter to go on a school trip to the zoo or to play in the netball team, they are totally excluded from any knowledge or granting of permission for that same child to be put on the pill, have a vaccine, or have a surgical abortion,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Family First is asking for the law to be amended to allow for parental notification in all cases of medical advice, prescriptions and procedures unless it can be proved to a family court that it would place the child at extreme risk.
“Parental notification laws in Texas, Michigan, Minnesota, and other US states have seen a drop in both the pregnancy rate and the teen abortion rate – a win-win situation for all concerned. This is especially relevant when almost 80 teenagers a week have an abortion in NZ,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Important decisions like these should not happen in isolation from parental support. We must acknowledge and respect the important and vital role of parents.”