Level 16 - Colossus
Abortion in the United States is a highly debated topic. People disagree not only with the legal aspect of abortion, but also it’s moral consequences. Because both the questions of legality and morality define whether or not abortion should be legal, the result is a highly disputed issue. The problem of abortion among teenagers adds another dimension to the already controversial topic. Recently Governor Christie Whitman signed a law which requiring health care providers to notify a parent of a minor seeking an abortion. The Parental Notification Act was passed in an attempt to safeguard the minor’s safety and right to choose.
The Act stipulates that abortion providers cannot perform the procedure on a woman 17 or younger until 48 hours after one parent has been notified by certified mail, however the law does not require that the parent give consent. If minor fears for her safety if her parents find out about her sexual activity, or are she can demonstrate that she is mature enough to make the decision on her own she can bypass the law by requesting a hearing before a Superior Court Judge. In implementing this act New Jersey has become the 40’Th State in the county to enforce laws requiring minors to either notify their parents or receive consent from them before having an abortion. The United States Supreme Court first declared these types of laws constitutional in 1979.
Legally, The Parental Notification Act, is constitution and is reasonable, however there are many arguments as to the downside of this new law. If minors are allowed to make any other major medical decisions during their pregnancies and can even decide to give up there babies for adoption, how can they not be given the right to have an abortion. The state argues that the minor can go though a bypass team in order to abort the baby. The law could dangerously delay abortions. It could result in physical and emotional abuse from parents and peers. Also, this law might discourage teenagers from seeking abortions with certified doctors. Girls may try to terminate their pregnancy’s themselves or pursue illegal, so-called “back up” abortions. This new law may cause new problems that were once not considered to be problems.
Surveying teenagers gives an accurate interpretation as to their views on the topic of abortion. Surprisingly 80% of the people surveyed said that abortion should be legal. This is quite different from the nationwide results of 51%. Of these people who believe that abortion should be legal 70% also felt that parents should be notified prior to an abortion. Almost 20% know of another teenager that has had an abortion. Overall only 20% of teenage girls would consider having an abortion. These figures may not represent the total opinions of teenagers, however they do give insight as to how teenagers see abortion differently than adults.
According to the survey taken, the majority of teenage girls feel that parents should be notified before an abortion occurs. “The Parental Notification Act has struck a ‘delicate balance’ between the rights of parents to play a role in their chills medical decisions with the rights of young woman to choose an abortion” (Judge Marguerite Simon). This new law includes provisions, which will ensure the safety and protect the constitutional rights of minors who seek abortions in New Jersey.