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Is Parental Consent for Abortion Always Necessary?

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  • Written By: Traci Behringer
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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Abortion is viewed in varying ways, depending on the person's beliefs and country of residence. Different jurisdictions have different laws when it comes to getting an abortion, especially when an underage teenager is involved. Usually, parental consent for abortion is required for these girls, but it is not always necessary.

In the United States, parental notification laws vary greatly across the nation. In states such as New York, Washington and Oregon, no parental notification is necessary. In states such as Florida and some Midwestern states, at least one parent must be notified. In most states, especially in the eastern U.S., at least one parent must not only be notified but also consent to the abortion. In states such as Louisiana and North Dakota, both must provide parental consent for abortion.

In Canada, parental consent for abortion is generally not required by the majority of medical clinics. This dedication to protecting the minor's confidence extends to her entire portfolio of medical information. A parent cannot access this information without the patient providing consent first. Furthermore, the partner cannot veto the girl's decision to go through with the abortion. Similarly, the United Kingdom has no laws regarding parental notification.

Other countries that do not require parental consent for abortion include South Africa, Sweden, New Zealand, Japan and eastern Australia. In these countries, there are either laws that state parental consent for abortion is unnecessary or there is a total absence of laws mentioning this. This might be taken to mean that there is nothing forcing the underage girl or her doctor to inform either parent before she gets an abortion.

There are countries that do require that a parent be informed. In Spain, 16- and 17-year-old girls must inform her parents unless she comes from an abusive household where the discovery of the news would cause strife. In India, parental consent is always required. In western Australia, girls under 16 must inform a parent. Poland has enacted laws that require parental consent no matter the circumstances or how underage the girl is.

Some countries have some slight variations regarding parental notification and consent. For example, in Greece, an underage is not only required to obtain permission from a parent, she also must obtain written, notarized consent from the parents. On the other hand, France permits a girl younger than 16 to get an abortion without informing her parents, but she must bring an adult with her to the procedure.

Discuss this Article

anon927188
Post 4

Why is there no parental consent in South Africa, Sweden, New Zealand and other countries mentioned? It is only rational! While a grown woman may have a right to end the development of the human fetus in the womb (which I strongly disagree with) a child does not have the same right. A child can't be considered a grown up! That is why parental consent is usually required for surgery.

bear78
Post 3

@MikeMason-- Yes, but your grandmother should be informed right? Or whoever that has custody of you and is taking care of you? Some states require the consent of any one adult in the family for an abortion, probably for these kinds of situations.

stoneMason
Post 2

@simrin-- I don't agree because sometimes the parents are not the best people to ask.

I grew up with my grandmother and my parents are divorced. They are married to other people and live far away. I don't have a relationship with either.

If I was pregnant and considered abortion, I would not want to inform or ask my parents.

SteamLouis
Post 1

I think that parental consent for abortions should be required for all minors.

I do believe that the decision to keep or abort a baby ultimately lies with the woman. It should be her choice. But the issue with minors is that their responsibility still lies with their parents. For this reason alone, I think that parental consent should be required.

The idea of a thirteen or fourteen year old getting an abortion without her parents even knowing is scary. I'm also scared that if minors can have abortions so easily, they will not understand the seriousness of the issue and might not try hard enough to prevent a pregnancy in the future.

I knew someone like that. She had had five abortions by the time she was twenty, most of them when she was a minor. She was still not using protection.

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