She shouldn’t have to make that choice alone.
Parental notification is not mandatory before performing an abortion for minors in Canada. Teen girls can have an abortion performed without notifying anyone, and they are then left alone to deal with the physical and emotional consequences.
Parents are involved in virtually all other medical decisions for their minor children. They may have valuable information about their teenager’s medical history, and they can provide improved access to medical care for minors through things like transportation to appointments and follow-up care. Parental notification or consent is needed for everything from tattoos to tanning salons to school field trips. Abortion should not be an exception.
Leaving parents out of the loop when their daughter faces an unexpected pregnancy undermines parental authority and disregards the best interests of children. It tells parents they don’t need to be involved in their children’s lives, and it tells teens not to trust their parents for support.
Provinces can and should legislate parental involvement when a minor requests an abortion.
There is a legitimate concern about cases where requiring parental notification could lead to a dangerous situation for a teen. We need to build safeguards into the law that allow an alternate route for teens fearing abuse, or victimized by incest. But we should not strip all parents of their rights for the sake of those few. Parental notification should be the standard to which exceptions are made, not the exception itself.
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