- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Girls who want an abortion in Missouri would need to tell both their parents under a bill that passed the House on Thursday.

Girls younger than 18 currently need to submit to an abortion provider the written consent of one parent or guardian. A bipartisan majority of lawmakers voted 121-34 to require the consenting parent to verify that the girl’s other parent has been notified in writing of the abortion, though the second parent’s consent is not required.

Thirty-eight states require parental involvement in a minor’s abortion, though only four states involve both parents, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Minnesota requires a minor to notify both parents before the abortion, but she does not need their consent. Three states, including Kansas, require both parents to consent to their child’s abortion, according to a March report from the organization.

Rep. Rocky Miller, a Republican from Lake Ozark, said he sponsored the Missouri bill because more than a decade ago, his 15-year-old daughter was pregnant and considered getting an abortion. The family talked it over and gave their daughter space to think about it, and eventually she decided not to have an abortion, he said.

Parents should be involved in such an important decision for their child, he said, adding that his bill makes allowances for teenagers who live in unsafe homes. For example, the legislation wouldn’t apply to parents convicted of crimes such as child abuse.

But opponents say many abusive parents are never caught, much less convicted.

“It’s very difficult to tease out those bad actors,” said Rep. Genise Montecillo, a St. Louis Democrat.

Rep. Stacey Newman, another Democrat from St. Louis, said there are teenagers who would rather “take their situation into their own hands” than meet the parental requirements for a safe, professional abortion.

Girls can still get a judge’s permission to bypass parental involvement, Miller said. And the bill doesn’t carry criminal penalties, so if one parent thinks the other is dangerous and doesn’t tell them, he said, the worst they could face is a lawsuit.

Missouri lawmakers have proposed more than a dozen bills this year to tighten regulations for people seeking an abortion or the clinics that provide them. And the House last week inserted wording in the state’s budget aimed at prohibiting Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid reimbursements for services such as vaccinations and examinations.

Miller said he is still trying to find a senator to guide his bill through that chamber.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide