Parental Notification for Abortion Bill

Problem Identification

Leticia is a 16 years old female patient who was recently referred to the clinic with subsequent signs of depression. According to her, she says that her conscience plagues her after she underwent a surgical abortion behind her parents back. Going back to her case, Leticia realized she was pregnant after taking a home pregnancy test, and since her parents are strict Catholics, she confided in her friend’s mother who took her to their family physician. She explained that she has been having sexual intercourse with a man who is 15 years her senior and does not want to keep the baby. Based on the timing of her last menstrual period, it was clear that Leticia is about eight weeks pregnant. Leticia was afraid of her parents finding out, especially her father. She believed that abortion was her only way out. She also insisted to the physician to keep the information confidential. At the time, she confided in me that she was not concerned about her Christian faith and all she wanted was to get done with the procedure and forget it ever happened. Apparently, Leticia is not the first underage patient to come to the clinic seeking support for the psychological backlash that comes alongside abortion. The hospital admits at least three to five girls every month with serious signs of a depressive disorder. Thus, the reason leading to the proposal is not the fact that Leticia procured an abortion without her parent’s consent. Rather it was because of the various devastating effects that abortion has on teens who on most occasions are not aware of the psychological risks and emotional torture the procedure can have on them.


Ideally, in New York, the law requires parents to give informed consent for their minors who want to have their tooth drilled or such other similar procedures. However, the same law allows children under the age of 18 years to go for an invasive surgical abortion without the informed consent of their parents or guardians. This means that teenagers are free to walk into any clinic and procure an abortion without understanding that the emotional and psychological effects following an abortion are more serious than physical side effects. It also means that the teens are not aware that the mild range or regret has the potential to lead to serious complications among them depression. In this context, we propose that invasive surgical abortion procedures should not be an exemption. Parental informed consent should be considered to ensure that the medical history of the patient is recorded and to help teens understand the risk of abortion and any alternative ways available. It is also important to mention that the Catholic Church in New York has constantly been proposing a similar bill based on the rationale of abortion is considered a surgical procedure and parents should be informed (New York State Catholic Conference, 2015). Thus, to try and get the bill to be debated, the recommendation is to have parental informed consent based on the psychological and emotional side effects that come along with teen abortion.

Background Information

In New York and other States in the United States, abortion is legal, and teenagers can walk into any Planned Parenthood clinic and ask for an invasive surgical abortion without informed consent. Seemingly, women abort for several reasons. In most cases, abortions are procured due to unwanted pregnancies like in the case of Leticia. Another reason may be due to defects in the fetus indicating some congenital abnormality (Williams, 2016). In this case, the risk of giving birth to a deformed child or alleged potential for congenital disabilities often provides ground for women to procure an abortion. Along with that, sometimes abortion is also used as a birth control method, which from a medical point of view is not a mature or responsible approach to sex. Ideally, in New York, the public health law is categorical on the inability of a minor to give informed consent to a surgical procedure (Wronski, n.d). However, the same law exempts children from informing their parents and giving informed consent when procuring an abortion. Sadly, without informed consent, it means that teens are not aware of the emotional and psychological side effects that abortion can have on them.

In the Christian doctrine, life begins at conception and ends with natural death. However, religious beliefs notwithstanding, and for consent, abortion should be treated like any other surgical procedure. Often, surgical procedures are known to have several devastating side effects on minors, demanding the involvement of an adult to offer emotional support and guidance. Parents are better placed to help their pregnant daughters to navigate through the healthcare system and select a certified obstetrician-gynecologist and a facility affiliated or close to a hospital in case of complications (Seymore, 2013). By virtue, the parent will ensure their daughter understand the procedures and help monitor them for any complications arising from the procedure back at home for necessary action. In addition to the above, as mentioned earlier, abortion often leads to devastating emotional and psychological effects. By involving parents, teens can get emotional support, which can help them manage the feelings of guilt and rage, thus protecting them from going into a depression.

Similar Legislation related to the proposal

Essentially, according to the Planned Parenthood (n.d) in a majority of the states in the United States require that the parents of minors should be informed of their daughter’s decision to procure an abortion.  The laws vary from state to state with some requiring that both parents give consent except in cases where they are divorced. For others, only the consent of one parent is required.

Financial impact

Ideally, the proposal only seeks to include in the public health bill, which pregnant minors should seek informed consent from their parents to help curb the high rates of emotional and psychological side effects emanating from abortion. Unlike in some states such as Texas that sought to cut the family planning funding, the proposal is not opposed to teen Planned Parenthood. Rather, the focus is to ensure that in the same way that parents must give informed consent for surgery in minors, they should also be involved in the invasive surgical abortion of their daughters. Thus, it is correct to say that the bill will not have any significant impact on the taxpayers except for the time the motion is being debated for in the House of Representatives at the State level.

Stakeholder groups likely to support the bill

In 2015, the New York State Catholic Conferences recommended a proposal that would require a 48-hour notice to one custodial parent before children under the age of 18 procured an abortion. By default, the Catholic Church will be more than willing to support the bill and ensure the proposal gets submitted to the House of Representatives, for debate and voting. The opponents of the bill have come out strongly every year the bill is proposed citing the reasons as not convincing enough to enact the law. The bill stands a chance from the support of two influential opponents; Ogdensburg-based Bishop Terry LaValley and Kathleen Gallagher, the director of the Catholic Action Network.

Stakeholder groups likely to oppose the bill

Ideally, New York has always at the forefront advocating for the rights of pregnant women on Planned Parenthood and their right to abortion. They have also been fighting for the rights of teenagers to procure an abortion without parental notification. The proposed legislation is likely to face stiff opposition from several parties such as the Planned Parenthood, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the Supreme Court who have been at the forefront advocating for the rights of pregnant teens. The rationale for the opposition claims that parental involvement increases the harm or abuse because minors are likely to seek dangerous alternatives that do not involve their parent’s consent (New York Civil Liberties Union, n.d)). The legislative memo also alleges that while involving parents in the reproductive health decisions of their children is important, young people should have access to services they need to remain healthy and safe.


From a critical point of view, it is going to be hard to have the bill debated in the House of Representatives and passed into law. The opponents of parental notification have always come out strong in the past opposing the bill. However, introducing the bill from the perspective of the increased emotional and psychological risks might convince the leaders to debate the bill and enact it based on children safety.


New York Civil Liberties Union. (n.d) Legislative memo: Parental involvement in minors’ abortion decisions. Retrieved from:

New York State Catholic Conference. (2015). Parental notification for abortion. Retrieved from:

Planned Parenthood. (n.d). Parental consent and notification laws. Retrieved from:

Seymore, M. L. (2013). Sixteen and Pregnant: Minors’ Consent in Abortion and Adoption. Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, 25(1), 98-158.

Williams, D. K. (2016). Defenders of the unborn: The pro-life movement before Roe v. Wade. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wronski, E. G. (n.d). Patients care and consent for minors. New York State Department of Health. Retrieved from:

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