State Lawmakers Propose Parental Consent for Minors Seeking Abortion

January 4, 2004--Posted at 5:00 p.m. CST

JONESBORO--A bill will be filed in advance of the legislative session that would require the consent of a parent or guardian before an abortion is performed on a minor or a mentally incompetent person.

The bill has already been debated at length and was passed by both houses in the last session, and except for a procedural technicality, it would now be law.

Lawmakers will give it a second try.

State Representative Dustin McDaniel says, "This bill increases the mere notification of a parent to actually requiring the consent of a parent."

Greg Brooks of the Better Life Counseling Center says, "It's very important to involve parents in decisions about their kids that involve their childrens' health, safety or social well being."

Well being is important. That's why the support of a parent is crucial in the decision for abortion.

The current law gives parents notification, but notice can't legally stop minors from going through with an abortion.

"The current law requires that minors receive consent from parents before field trips at school or before they have any other medical procedure. So it stands to reason and it's just good, sound public policy that minors should have the consent of a parent before having something as serious as an abortion," McDaniel says.

"It can be a very traumatic procedure in terms of the emotional aftermath. There can be feelings of guilt and feelings of remorse or of loss," Brooks says.

Professionals like Brooks say that often minors might not consider the outcome of abortion, but lawmakers want to make sure they're reminded.

"This measure was met with a lot of support in the last legislative session and I anticipate it will pass easily this session," McDaniel says.