Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Put Reproductive Parity Act into law now
Teens need to have safe access
Christine Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, informs us in The Times that Washington state is considering a requirement of parental notification when a teenager requests an abortion [“Protect reproductive rights,” Opinion, Jan. 25]. The consideration is based on a study commissioned by the organization, Human Life, which is unconditionally committed to ending all abortion, regardless of age. If the law is passed, no Washington teenager will be able to have an abortion without her parents being notified.
States vary with respect to notification laws. Some have none, some require permission of both parents even when one parent’s whereabouts are unknown or one or both parents are known to be abusive. However, a number of states provide a pregnant teenager the opportunity for a judicial bypass, that is, a hearing before a judge who can waive the requirement that parents be notified.
Pregnant teenagers who trust their parents to know what is in their best interests will inform them. Those who fear the consequences of revealing their pregnancies will not. Should the proposed law be passed, it would be unconscionable to pass it without a judicial bypass provision.
--Barbara Milgrom Melrose, Seattle