Abortion: Notification bill should be enacted

Del. Roger Romine, R-Tyler, is among the co-sponsors of a bill that would prohibit unemancipated minors, and other females who have been appointed a guardian or conservator under certain provisions, from obtaining an abortion without parental notification. The bill is a common sense effort to re-establish some needed, reasonable limits on the termination of pregnancies, but its authors were careful to keep in mind the safety of the young women at the heart of the discussion.

While the language of the bill states that “minors often lack the ability to make fully informed choices that take into account both immediate and long range consequences of their actions; that the medical, emotional and psychological consequences of abortion are serious and of indeterminate duration, particularly when the patient is immature;” it acknowledges there will be occasions when a judicial waiver process is necessary to protect minors who have been abused, or have good reason to believe they would be should their families be made aware of their situation.

“A minor who objects to such notice being given to her parent or legal guardian may petition for a waiver of such notice to the circuit court of the county in which the minor resides or in which the abortion is to be performed, or to the judge of either of such courts,” the bill reads. And, importantly, “Such petition need not be made in any specific form and shall be sufficient if it fairly sets forth the facts and circumstances of the matter.”

In other words, a frightened child is not going to be asked to become a legal expert overnight in order to write her petition.

Physicians would also, in emergencies, still be able to perform abortions on minors without parental notification. This bill should be enacted; it is a compassionate, common sense bill meant to shield those who are still legally children from making an irreversible decision for which they may not yet understand the consequences.

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