A story out of New Zealand tells of a school nurse booking a student for an abortion, driving her there during school hours, bringing her home late, and lying about why they were late. A year later, as the girl deteriorated emotionally and physically, it came out to her parents that she had received an abortion. The surgery damaged her uterus and she will now never be able to have a baby.
Any parent reading this story will feel outrage at having a school employee go behind your back to encourage your 15-year-old daughter to get life-changing surgery in secret. But legally, just as in Canada, the school did not have to notify the parents. There was no requirement of parental consent for a minor to have an abortion.
The fact that underage girls in Canada can get an abortion without parental consent or notification means stories like this can happen here too. Parents need to stand up for their right to protect and guide their children. No one should encourage your children to make major life decisions in isolation, or counsel them to hide things from you. As this story shows, parents can be left wondering why their child is struggling, and be unable to provide the best care and support.
We believe parental notification should be ensured before performing an abortion for a minor. Parents are involved in virtually all other medical decisions, and may have valuable information about a child’s medical history. Doctors, school nurses, or private abortion clinic employees should not play counselor and parent to teens in crisis.
A legal opinion prepared on the topic on parental consent for abortion stresses that parents are ultimately responsible for the care and guidance of their children. Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child parents have primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of their children, with the best interests of the child being their primary concern. Article 18 indicates that this “best interests” measure includes taking into account a child’s maturity and capacity for decision-making; it does not, however, preclude parental involvement with mature minors.
The fact that a school needs permission to take your child on a field trip, but not for surgery, is beyond ridiculous. That same teen needs parental consent before getting a tattoo or using a tanning salon, and needs legal consent before being allowed to drink, smoke, or drive a car. Has abortion really become such a taboo subject that we are willing to just ignore legal oversights rather than face the wrath of abortion advocates?
Undermining parental authority undermines the best interests of children. It tells parents they don’t need to be involved in their children’s lives, and tells teens not trust their parents for support. If someone can take my child for surgery and I only find out about it later, they can expect to hear from me. I expect they’d hear from you too.