Cover Story

The parent gap

"The parent gap" Continued...

Issue: "30 years of destruction," Jan. 18, 2003

Meanwhile, in Georgia, Kansas, Montana, and Nebraska, where at least one parent must be notified when a teenager wants an abortion, abortions fell by about one-third. The decline was highest in Nebraska at 46 percent. In Kansas, the number of abortions among teens 17 and under actually increased by a net 9 percent during the 1990s. In 1990, young teens there aborted 992 unborn babies. In 1992, the year the notice law took effect, they aborted 1,289 more. The number of abortions in that age group hovered near that number for the next three years, peaking in 1995 at 1,305. By 1999, abortions had fallen to 1,085, for a post-law decline of 16 percent.

WORLD cannot directly attribute abortion declines in the states to the presence or absence of parental involvement laws, since other factors such as the activity of crisis pregnancy centers, the effectiveness of abstinence programs, state funding of abortions, and changes in attitudes toward abortion also affect those trends. But during the 1990s, states that implemented parental consent laws saw, on average, a decline in abortions among young teens that was triple that in states with no laws, and significantly bigger drops than states with parental notice laws. In addition, abortions in the affected age group fell more steadily through the 1990s in consent-law states, while they tended to hover and spike in notice- and no-law states.

"Parental involvement laws reinforce the rights of parents to be involved in their children's medical decisions," said Denise M. Burke, staff counsel for Americans United for Life. "At minimum, parental notification is required before virtually all non-emergency medical procedures. Abortion should be no different."

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