The Senate Law and Justice Committee was packed Wednesday with supporters and opponents of Senate Bill 5156, which would deny a pregnant minor an abortion unless she had given at least 48-hours’ notice to one parent or a legal guardian.
“This bill is not trying to stop abortions,” Sen. Don Benton, a Republican from Vancouver who sponsored the measure, told the committee. “What this bill is about is notifying parents of their children’s activities before they engage in them. It’s a common-sense right.”
According to The Guttmacher Institute, which tracks reproductive-health issues, 38 states require some type of parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. More than 20 states require parental consent. Twelve others require parental notification only, and five require both official notification and consent.
Vincent Dhanens, a father of four daughters from Olympia, told lawmakers that his children can’t go on a field trip, get their ears pierced or get a tattoo without permission from him or his wife.
“I can’t imagine why it isn’t important for us to be involved in a life-altering decision,” he said. “Why wouldn’t the state want us to talk to them about abortion? Because a child does not want to talk to their parents doesn’t mean they shouldn’t.”