MPs deny parents’ the right to be informed of 15 year-old daughter’s abortion

Family First director Bob McCroskie says it is ludicrous that parents have to give permission for their daughters to go on school trips but not for their daughter to have an abortion.

He was speaking after a majority report from Parliament’s justice and electoral committee rejected a petition seeking to change the law.

Read Right to Life press release

The petitioners wanted parental notification to be a requirement before some one under the age of 16 could have an abortion

At present, those aged under 16 are able to have information restricted from anyone if its deemed “The disclosure of that information would be contrary to that individual’s interests”, according to section 29 (1)(d) of the privacy act 1993.

The report says it was best if a young woman who seeks an abortion had the full support of her parents. But it should not be mandatory to tell them.

But McCroskie believes this decision goes against the wishes of most parents. He criticised the committee for refusing to hear submissions from parent or family groups such as Family First and instead relying only on medical and privacy experts.

NZ First and the Maori party had a minority view, saying parents should be informed unless a health professional decided there was a risk of harm to the child in disclosing it.

The abortion law reform association said it was the right decision not to make it mandatory. President Tony Bellamak said it would have put some young women at harm.”

“Mandatory reporting would increase the fear and stress on young people who are already in a vulnerable position.”

Read press release from Abortion Law Reform Assocaition

Stratford mother Hillary Kieft organised the petition. Her 15-year-old daughter had an abortion without her parents knowing.

Kieft told the justice and electoral select committee it was not until after her daughter attempted suicide a year later in 2010 that the Kiefts learned their daughter’s boarding school arranged for her to have an abortion.

About 60 women under 16 had abortions each year and of those, only about 10 did not tell their parents.


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