POLICE MINISTER Judith Collins has pledged to support a call for laws to prevent girls under 16 having abortions without their parents being told.
Collins said she would support a private member’s bill requiring parents to be involved before a termination could take place.
She could not introduce it herself, because ministers can only introduce legislation related to their own portfolios, but her stand comes after the Sunday Star-Times revealed a mother’s anger that a school counsellor arranged an abortion for her teenage daughter.
While in opposition in 2004, Collins proposed the Care of Children Act be amended to make parental notification mandatory for girls under 16. The act allows a female of any age to consent to an abortion. Collins proposed that if a girl objected to parental notification, a doctor would contact the district court to arrange an appointment for the girl to see a judge in chambers within 24 hours.
I’m not a fan of changing the law, but if you were to do so, it is important to have a procedure where notification does not occur – especially vital in cases of incest.
I would hope that any child who has an abortion does tell their parents, as how can the parents be there to support them if unaware. But as I said, I am not sure it is a good idea to make notification a legal necessity – it could lead to a pregnant teen trying to do a back street abortion.
In 2009, 3950 girls aged 11 to 19 had abortions.
That isn’t a very useful number. The relevant number is how many aged under 16 had abortions. The stats don’t tell us for under 16, but in 2009 only 79 abortions were done for those aged under 15. That’s 79 too many, but it is also far from a tidal wave. In fact the number of abortions (all ages) has been declining for the last two years.
UPDATE: Family First have supplied me more detailed stats, and n 2009 there 299 abortions on under 16 year olds.