Massachusetts is considering a bill that would lower the age of consent for abortion from 18 to 16, allowing for abortions to be performed on girls 16 or older without parental consent or notification.
The bill, S. 754, is being presented under the guise of “safeguarding the health care decisions of young adults.” But it would actually put teens at further risk of both physical and psychological harm — without the knowledge of their parents.
As Massachusetts Citizens for Life has pointed out:
Our laws make distinctions between age of majority (usually 18 or above) and age of minority (below 18) for a reason. We recognize that before a certain age, most young people need the assistance and guidance of people who love them—their parents, in most cases— to help them make good decisions. This is why, for instance, we don’t let children sign binding contracts until they are legally adults.
This includes all medical decisions that aren’t immediately life threatening. Yet, once again, we’re supposed to make a sole exception for abortion, which is virtually never necessary in an emergency situation anyway. And when it is an emergency, the law already allows medical professionals to take action. But, of course, S,754 isn’t just about emergencies.
Over the years, the abortion lobby has advanced this bad idea of lowering the age of consent time and again, and each time, the citizens of the Commonwealth have rejected it, not because we don’t love our daughters, but because we do.
Research on teens who have abortions has found that:
- Teens are more likely to abort because of pressure from their parents or partner, more likely to report being misinformed in pre-abortion counseling, and more likely to have greater difficulty coping after abortion.
- Teens who abort unintended pregnancies are five times more likely to seek subsequent help for psychological and emotional problems compared to their peers who carry unintended pregnancies to term.
- Teens are 6 times more likely to attempt suicide if they have had an abortion in the last six months than are teens who have not had an abortion.
- Teens who abort are more likely to develop psychological problems, and are nearly three times more likely to be admitted to mental health hospitals than teens in general. [Source]
Yet this bill would allow teens to undergo such a procedure without their parents’ knowledge, meaning that the parents wouldn’t know if their daughter is facing risks to their physical or psychological health.
As MA Citizens for Life has further stated:
Who will be there for that girl in the days, weeks, and months to come when she is suffering from the after effects of abortion, which often leads to depression and even suicidal thoughts, not to mention the damage it can do to her physical and mental health throughout her life? Will it be the adult who takes her to the abortion clinic? The man who impregnated her? Certainly not the abortionist.
In the end, it will be the parents who weren’t allowed to be there for their daughter in the first place, who will be left to help her pick up the pieces. They will do it out of love, even as the Commonwealth tells them it is their responsibility to deal with the repercussions of a decision they weren’t allowed to be even know about beforehand.
Of course, if the parents don’t even know about the abortion because they weren’t required to give their consent, they might never know that their daughter needs their help. And she will end up suffering in silence.
Such a law would pose even more risk to girls who are victims of sexual assault or abuse, as it would give predators even more freedom to cover up evidence of the abuse by seeking or forcing an abortion. Indeed, a parental notification law proposed in California in 2008 drew support from a number of district attorneys and sheriffs who saw it as a tool to protect girls who were victims of sexual abuse.
A San Bernadino police sergeant who spoke out in support of the bill described a case in which a perpetrator used abortion to cover up assaulting a 12-year-old girl. The parents did not find out about the abuse until four years later:
Sgt. Tom Yarrington, the police officer who investigated the case, says if California had a law requiring abortion providers to inform families when underage girls seek their services, the girl in this case would have been spared further abuse.
“The biggest difference is that the abuse would have ceased immediately,” Yarrington said. “Second of all, she would have been receiving counseling immediately, which is going to help her through the healing process and allow her to move on with her life.” …
… The veteran investigator said family notification for minors seeking abortions would help both law enforcement and victims.
“It gives us better investigative leads, allows us to locate more victims and allows us to provide earlier intervention-not only to provide the help that the child needs to make it through this time, but it is also going to assist us in stopping further abuse from occurring to that victim and, potentially, other victims,” he said.
“If we can’t help right away because the information isn’t disclosed and she has to carry that burden on her own, that’s a very difficult, heavy burden for someone to carry,” said Yarrington. “A 12-year-old is not mentally prepared to deal with not only the medical complications that can occur, but the mental anguish.”
Research: Is Abortion Better for Teens Than Unplanned Pregnancy?
A Generation At Risk: How Teens Are Manipulated Into Unwanted Abortions
Teens and Abortion Page
When Young Girls Are Manipulated Into Abortion
Helping Predators, Harming Teens
No One Told Me I Could Cry
Special Report on Teens And Abortion