Parental Notification


Background: Parental consent and parental notice laws are an important part of state laws regulating the practice of abortion. In his study, “Analyzing the Effect of State Legislation on the Incidence of Abortion Among Minors,” A Report of the Heritage Center for Data Analysis (February 5, 2007), Michael J. New, Ph.D. notes that between 1985 and 1999 the overall abortion rate dropped 29%, while the minor abortion rate fell almost 50%. The abortion rate measures the number of abortions performed on every cohort of 1,000 women either of childbearing age (overall abortion rate) or between the ages of 13 and 17 (minor abortion rate).

New focused on why the especially dramatic decrease in teenage abortion rate occurred. Analyzing for various possible causes, New concludes that pro-life legislation had a significant role. He singles out parental involvement laws and medicaid abortion funding restrictions. “Regression results from this analysis suggest that parental involvement laws and public funding restrictions are effective in reducing the incidence of abortion among minors. Specifically, the passage of a parental involvement law correlates with a 16 percent decline in the minor abortion rate, and the passage of Medicaid funding restrictions correlates with a 23 percent decline in the minor abortion rate.” New lists 34 states that had parental involvement laws at some time between 1981 and 2000.

In 2003 and in 2005 the Parental Notification and Intervention Act was introduced in the House. Also see the “CCPA/CIANA” section elsewhere in this Legislative Report.

House: On March 1, 2007, Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) introduced the Parental Notification and Intervention Act of 2007 (H.R. 1295). The bill had 24 cosponsors and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. No further action was taken.

The bill would have made it unlawful to perform an abortion on an unemancipated minor under 18, to permit the facilities of an entity to perform an abortion on such minor, or to assist in the performance of an abortion on such minor, unless: there was clear and convincing evidence of physical abuse by the parent; there was written notification to the parents that an abortion had been requested; there was a 96-hour waiting period after the notice had been received by the parents; and there was compliance with provisions allowing any parent to seek a court injunction against the abortion. Exceptions were made for cases where a grave physical disorder or disease would cause the death of the unemancipated minor. Parental notice required the use of certified mail which was personally delivered to any parent. The term “parent” included a legal guardian.