Talking to your MLA is the most valuable tool you have at your disposal to make real change in your province. Even if you don't think your MLA is interested in protecting our children, they still represent you and need to hear your views on this subject
We have prepared three simple letters you can use to contact your MLA.
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As minors are more vulnerable and susceptible to negative influences and outside pressures, laws requiring parental consent protect vulnerable teens from sexual exploitation. A parental consent for abortion law would protect vulnerable minors by alerting parents to potential abuse.
In addition to providing advice prior to an abortion, parents who are aware their daughter has gone through this experience will be in a better position to assist with any physical and psychological care after the procedure.
The American College of Pediatricians has just updated their position paper on the importance of parental consent and involvement in a minor's decision to have an abortion. This document quickly and clearly covers all the important points for why parental consent for abortion is necessary: "As Ross proficiently states: “What are we teaching our adolescents when they find persons in authority willing to help them deceive their parents? What does it teach these adolescents with regard to the respect owed to any adult, least of all a deceitful doctor or a duped parent?” Intentionally removing a teen’s parent(s) from the decision-making process, misleads the teen toward the false notion that parents are nonessential, simply obstructive to the process, and that the teen is completely capable of making mature, wise decisions without the parent’s advice."
The College of Pediatricians makes it clear that the special treatment for this one controversial procedure needs to end: "For purposes of consent, however, abortion should be treated as any other medical or surgical procedure. Medical care of children and adolescents uniformly requires written and verbal parental consent for any procedure – inside or outside of a medical office. For example, written parental consent is required for minor children to receive over-the-counter medications when in day care or at school. This is because appropriate medical care can only be provided within the context of the patient’s family and medical history."
In conclusion, they state, "Adolescents need the advice and involvement of their parents. As more is learned about the immaturity of the adolescent brain, especially in the development of the decision-making frontal lobes, it is obvious that parents should be allowed to guide their teens in all medical decisions, including decisions regarding pregnancy. Legislation mandating or encouraging parental involvement in decisions related to a minor’s pregnancy protects adolescents during a very vulnerable time in their lives. Society recognizes this need, and often requires and encourages parents to be a positive resource for their adolescents in matters of health, and other issues of consequence. Therefore, excluding them from a minor’s decision about abortion cannot be justified."
You can read the full statement, with supporting sources, here.
A common question regarding parental consent is whether it targets abortion, or in any way reduces the number of abortions performed. Some argue that parents could coerce or encourage their daughter into having an abortion when she would otherwise want to keep her baby. Others question the need for parental support, pointing to the fact that these girls aren’t really alone at all; their experience is increasingly common. A British Columbia abortion clinic aims to comfort anxious teens with the statistic that “about half of pregnant teenagers choose to have an abortion. About 20,000 teenagers have abortions in Canada each year.”
It’s true that these teenagers aren’t alone – each is in the company of about 19,999 other girls who felt they had no choice but to end a developing life in the pursuit of their own best life. That means all of these 20,000 girls called an abortion clinic, made an appointment, and followed through with the medication or surgery needed to end her pregnancy. It’s quite possible that many of those girls told their parents, and many likely did it with their parents’ consent. So how does requiring parental consent help anyone?
Legislation requiring parental consent for abortion helps in one crucial way. Parental consent is a requirement that comes into play after a girl has already sought out or requested an abortion. She is not being brought in or coerced by her parents – though it is quite likely someone has a hand in coercion and pressure, as is evident in stories like Joanne’s. Parental consent adds a mature voice that may not have been present up to this point, the voice of someone who cares deeply for the well-being of the girl involved. While some parents may indeed consent without hesitation, there will be others who uphold everything the pro-life movement stands for. These are parents who offer unwavering support, encouragement, help finding and accessing resources, and the invaluable unconditional love that only parents can provide. No boyfriend, peer, or abortion clinic counsellor can adequately provide those things. Parents are in the best possible place to understand parenting, to understand the love a parent can feel for a child, and to cross any hurdle necessary to give a child his or her best chance at life.
Parental consent can only reduce abortions, never increase them. The minors involved are already seeking an abortion, and all too often are feeling terrified, desperate, and alone. Involving parents (or, in rare cases, judicial consent) provides these girls an opportunity for true choice within a support system that is unrivaled. Parents must take this responsibility seriously, and hold their daughters’ trust gently. This informed, collaborative decision making may well be the difference between a desperate decision that forever ends a life and the brave decision that allows that life to be lived and loved.
In Saskatchewan a teenager who becomes unexpectedly pregnant can receive an abortion without any knowledge of her parents. She shouldn't have to make that choice alone.