Restricting abortion for young women and girls under the guise of ensuring parents have a say over health procedures isn’t just for the United States. Now, with a push from an anti-choice “family” group, New Zealand is facing the same battle, and teen girls are being caught in the crossfire.
There are fresh calls for a change to the law that allows a young woman to have an abortion without telling her parents.
The debate has been reignited after revelations at the weekend that a schoolgirl had an abortion arranged by a school counsellor without the mother’s knowledge.
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Family First says it is completely unacceptable for a girl to have an abortion while the parents have been excluded but the NZ Association of Counsellors (NZAC) says the law is necessary to safeguard vulnerable girls.
Family First is adamant parents should be part of the process when a young teen is trying to figure out whether or not to have an abortion.
McCoskrie said when it comes down to a serious medical procedure like an abortion or what to do with an unwanted pregnancy, parents cannot be excluded and officials can’t hide behind confidentiality.
He said the code of ethics and Families Commission say parents have a right to know about health issues for under 16 year olds and it is ridiculous to say a counsellor who has a temporary involvement in the life of the girl is in a better position to make a decision than the parents who are there full time.
Family First wants the law changed so that parents “will know, will be part of the process and will be part of the decision”.
But Family First is the one actually pushing the “outrage” in the first place, by pressing into the media a poll that they themselves commission, saying, of course, exactly what they hoped it would say — parents should be involved.
Via NZ Herald:
On the pro-life side, a Family First-commissioned poll last year found 79 per cent of people supported parental notification when a daughter was considering an abortion.
The poll surveyed 1000 people, with only 12 per cent saying parents should not be told, while 9 per cent did not know.
“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,” Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said.
“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.”
The media reports are full of parents outraged that their daughters were able to obtain abortions without them knowing. Yet for each parent horrified at a counselor helping their daughters get abortions, not one of them appears equally horrified that their daughters did not feel as if they could speak to their parents about the pregnancy in the first place.