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Proposed Bill Would Require Parental Notification For Abortions

Senator Mike Padden
Courtesy Photo
Senator Mike Padden

A bill introduced in Olympia last week would require health providers to notify parents 48 hours in advance if their child is getting an abortion. Critics say this will make it harder for an underage girl to get an abortion. Republican State Senator Mike Padden is the bill's sponsor. He represents Washington's 4th District in the Spokane Valley.

Interview Highlights

Padden: I think parents need to be involved in this critical decision that an unemancipated minor — maybe 13, 14 or 15, whatever — is making such a vital decision on whether or not an unborn child is going to live or not to live.

I think over all, you want you want parents involved in their teenager's decisions. I mean, right now, if you're in high school and you want an aspirin, you got to get consent and here we're just talking about notifying the parents. I think it's a common sense thing.

This, or something more restrictive than this is, a law in 39 states. So we're in the minority. I think there's a lot of public support for it.

Reynolds: We'd like to think that all parents look out for the best interests of their children. But we also know that that's not always the case and in some extreme cases it's the parent who made the child pregnant. Are you concerned that this parental notification could actually get a parent involved in the in the process in an inappropriate way?

Padden: I really don't think so. The law has been in existence in 38, 39 states and some of the so-called horror stories that some of the opponents mentioned in the hearing simply have not happened in all the states that have had this law for a number of years.

There is a judicial bypass procedure — the ability of a young woman to go to a judge and seek permission to have the abortion. Normally when that happens they are granted permission to have the abortion by the judge.

Reynolds: Your immediate goal is to have parents know that their child is seeking an abortion. But beyond that is your goal to discourage girls under 18 from getting an abortion?

Padden: The goal of the legislation is to have parents be involved in the decision and I think when parents are involved there will be more of a balance. Looking at it, I think it might result in less abortion. That appears to be the case in other states where they've had this legislation. 

Year started with KUOW: 2006