Having worked across the street from two major abortion facilities in my life, I have watched many women grapple with the challenging decision about whether to move forward with pregnancy or have an abortion. I’ve been fortunate to witness many make the courageous decision to continue their pregnancy, often because someone took the time to explain human development, provide resources and give them honest information about how abortions are performed. Each time, we also encouraged our youngest moms to bring their parents into the conversation to lean on them for support, just as they’ve done their entire lives.
As Colorado Gov. Jared Polis considers signing recently passed HB 1279, Reproductive Health Equity Act, into law, he must take into account that this extreme bill would make Colorado the most radical state in the nation regarding abortion. And abortion is a decision that affects women in many negative ways that are well documented – despite these consequences being ignored by bill sponsors and the highly powerful abortion industry.
Consider instead the life-affirming and comprehensive services offered by Marisol Services – which offers a full range of medical, social, material and emotional support services to women and families here in Northern Colorado. We serve not only the mother and baby during pregnancy but ongoing for many years to come. There really is a better way – and it’s already available.
But amid the contentious debate over HB 1279, one issue in particular is worthy of close scrutiny: parental notification. In 2003, the state legislature enacted a requirement that parents be given 48 hours written notice when a minor child is seeking an abortion. Note that the requirement is for notification — not parental approval.
HB 1279 is so broad and far-reaching, that parental notification provision could be undermined because it “interferes with” an individual’s “fundamental right” to abortion, according to the bill text. Teens who must get parental permission to receive a pain reliever in most public schools may be able to have an abortion without parents being aware.
Young pregnant women, who may experience external pressure to abort from peers, family, boyfriends, medical professionals or counselors, often make their choice because of a perceived lack of control or lack of knowledge. By denying the support of their parents, are those in favor of teen abortions acting in that girl’s best interest?
Early in my career, I worked with an OB/Gyn who counseled a mother who had received a call from her local emergency room. They needed her permission to perform emergency surgery on her daughter whose uterus and adjacent bowel had been punctured by an abortionist. Surgery to repair both were needed immediately. The mother had thought her daughter was at school – yet a school nurse had driven the girl to the abortionist without parental consent. God forbid that this would happen to our daughters here in Colorado.
As Gov. Polis prepares to act on HB 1279, I urge him to send this far-reaching bill back to the Senate and ensure parental notification is clearly protected in the bill text. Parents have a right to know, and minors need their parents’ help.
Lynn Grandon is program director of Respect Life Denver and testified against HB 1279. Respect Life Denver is a ministry of Catholic Charities of Denver.