The Washington State Senate is considering legislation, SB 5156, which would require parental notification at least 48 hours before an abortion is performed on an unemancipated minor. The bill does not require parental consent, but simply notification, and it allows for broad exemptions in cases of abuse, medical emergency and other circumstances. The Senate Law and Justice Committee held a hearing on SB 5156 on February 6th, at which the Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) supported the bill.
The WSCC testified that parents have a fundamental right to raise their children. Parental guidance and protection cannot be properly substituted by any institution or worker. Parental consent is necessary in Washington State for all non-emergency medical treatment provided to minors, except for abortion. SB 5156 would take a step toward correcting this double standard by at least requiring parental notification for most cases of young girls seeking abortions.
Such legislation garners strong support in Washington State. In a recently conducted poll of Washington state voters 65 percent supported parental notification, and only 25 percent opposed. Parental rights are not only fundamental to our society, they are popular as well.
The Washington State Catholic Conference has created an action alert supporting parental notification.