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Outrage in New Hampshire: Lawmakers Consider Measure Endangering Minors and Trampling Parental Rights

New legislation under consideration in New Hampshire would require guidance counselors or healthcare providers to counsel teenage girls before they undergo an abortion, but effectively denies parents or guardians the right to be consulted and involved in this major medical decision.

In 2007, New Hampshire lawmakers repealed the state’s parental notification statute that required an abortion provider to notify a girl’s parent or guardian when she requested an abortion.  However, several lawmakers are currently attempting to revive the requirement.

New Hampshire is the first state to repeal a parental notification law. Currently, 36 states have enforceable parental involvement laws, requiring parental consent (25 states) or parental notification (11 states) before a minor may undergo an abortion.

Parental involvement laws have been shown to advance key state interests of protecting the health and welfare of minors, protecting the constitutional right of parents to rear their children, increasing teenage sexual responsibility, and reducing teenage demand for abortion.

Moreover, parental involvement laws are supported by the majority of Americans, regardless of their positions on abortion.  Ironically, notification is required before virtually all non-emergency procedures except abortion

New Hampshire Citizens for Life president Roger Stenson told LifeNews.com, “Parents have a primordial right to protect and counsel their children. Children have the right to their parents’ involvement in their lives.”

He said the legislators who voted to get rid of the involvement law “trampled on every family in our state.”

He said the vote would encourage secret abortions on minors with people who sexually abuse them taking them for abortions without their parents knowing.

For more information on parental involvement laws, see Defending Life 2008, “Parental Involvement Laws: Protecting minors and furthering parental rights (PDF).”

For more information on New Hampshire’s legislation, go to http://www.lifenews.com/state2833b.html