By R. Needle, L. Walker
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Extra resources for Abortion Counseling - A Clinician's Guide to Psych, Legislation, Politics and Competency
It also allows further testing for the woman in case of fetal anomalies, so that important medical information can be assessed. This would help the woman to understand her risk factors and the possibility for a healthy pregnancy in the future. Focusing on the woman is the most important part of this discussion. The heart of this should be about understanding the often lifethreatening situations that place women in the position of making this difficult decision that for many women may be life saving but also emotionally devastating.
These laws vary greatly state by state. Twenty-one states require that the abortion provider obtain proof of parental consent, and 11 states require that the provider notify a parent. Two states require both parental consent and notification (Guttmacher Institute, November 2006). State-by-state, the difference in wording of these laws can be significant. On one end of the spectrum, laws can require the consent or Perspectives for the Mental Health Professional 5 notification of both parents. Minnesota requires that both parents be notified, and Mississippi and North Dakota require both parents’ consent (Center for Reproductive Rights, 2005).
While these pieces of legislation seem reasonable on the surface, our experience has taught us that parental involvement laws seriously endanger the very families and teens they are intended to protect. In 1988, our beautiful, vibrant, 17-year-old daughter Becky died suddenly, after a six-day illness. The pathologist who directed her autopsy concluded that the cause of her death was streptococcus pneumonia, brought about by an illegal abortion. Learning this, we finally understood our daughter’s last words.