I believe that teenage girls should need their parents’ consent to have an abortion since abortion is a major decision. It seems logical that a teen girl should get her parents’ permission in order to make this difficult lifelong decision, but many think otherwise.

Teens can’t even get an aspirin from their school nurses without their parent’s signature. So why should abortion be any different? You’re killing an innocent human being who can’t protect him- or herself. Minors also need parental consent to get a piercing or a tattoo. Deciding whether or not to have an abortion can be a tough decision for any woman, young or old, so it shouldn’t be made alone. It is important that teen girls have someone to turn to for comfort and advice. Who better to help and support them than the person who has loved and cared for them since birth?

There are also those possibilities that the teen girl would not be able to have children in her later years because of the abortion. She might not even know this until she is married and thinking about having a family. There also is a rare risk of death from the procedure. How would a mother feel if she got a phone call from a doctor saying that there were complications during her daughter’s abortion? She didn’t even know about this abortion and the doctor is telling her that her baby girl is dead; it would be devastating to any parent.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that in 2005, one-third of U.S. girls would become pregnant before the age of 20, and 80 percent of those would be unmarried (“Teen Pregnancy” by Emma Carlson Berne). Even though we hate to admit it, we teens still have a lot of growing up to do and we still need our parents’ guidance from time to time. Engaging in sex comes with consequences and telling your parents that you are pregnant is one of those consequences and another consequence is telling your parents that you would like to have an abortion.

Think about this situation from a parent’s point of view. If you found out that your 15-year-old daughter was pregnant, you would want to be notified as soon as possible that she was pregnant and if she wanted to have an abortion. You would want to be there to help your daughter make the choices that are best for her and to make sure that she gets the best care possible. You would want to help, comfort and support your daughter.

Teen mothers can also give their babies up for adoption and still be in contact with their child. If teens and parents could better communicate with one another, teens would have someone to talk to if they had any questions or got into a situation when they needed. How are we supposed to build an environment of honest communication if parents aren’t informed that their child is having a medical procedure? Although we tend to forget, we are our parents’ children, and they are responsible for us. They deserve to know what is going on in our lives.

Of course, there are those cases in which the teen feels like she cannot involve her parents because of incest or when the pregnancy is caused by a parent. With cases such as these, talking to your parents is not an option; there is a way that allows teen girls to have an abortion with a judge’s permission. In cases in which the teen decides to go to court, she must convince the court that she is mature enough to make this decision without her parents or that it is in her best interest.

Some teen girls believe that their parents shouldn’t know that they are pregnant and that they want an abortion because they will get mad or not support them. If they only knew how their parents would feel if their daughter, whom they have raised since she was a baby, could not come to them and tell them that she is pregnant. Although, sometimes the relationship is good and the daughter will tell her parents naturally.

It seems to me that if the teen girl is pregnant and seeking an abortion there already is a lack of communication. Many also believe that it should be up to the pregnant teen if she would like to have an abortion or not. The Alan Guttmacher Institute stated that the majority of the states in the U.S. require parental notification of teens’ abortion, and only seven of the 50 states do not require a parent’s consent.

This is why I believe that teenage girls should be required to get their parents consent to get an abortion.

(Martin lives in Napa.)

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