Parental information

Stuff reports:

A mother whose teenage daughter attempted suicide after a secret is asking the Government to change the law so underage girls won’t undergo terminations without their parents’ knowledge.

Hillary Kieft, of Stratford, Taranaki, presented a petition calling for an amendment to the law to Whanganui MP Chester Borrows on Monday.

Kieft and her husband Peter found out that their daughter, then 15, had had an abortion organised by her school, when she attempted suicide a year later in 2010.

Six years after the procedure, their daughter still suffered from depression, and was infertile, so would never be able to have children, Keift said.

At 15, their daughter was not mature enough to have made a genuinely informed decision on her own, she said.

The reason she hadn’t wanted to tell them about her pregnancy was because she was ashamed and scared, they found out later.

“She thought that we would be disappointed in her, just the normal family stuff.”

I do not believe there should be parental consent, but I do think that if the child is aged under 16, then the default setting should be for the parents to be notified. I think more harm is done by not having parents knowing and able to support their daughter, than the counter factual.

There should be an ability for a pregnant girl to not have their parents notified, if there are extenuating circumstances. But the default should be, I believe, that parents get notified – just as they would for any other medical procedure on someone aged under 16.

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