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Reproductive Rights

I am in high school and I am doing a major project on abortion for sociology. I have to pick a certain question about it and do a 30-minute presentation to the class answering the question. I am doing the question on parental consent laws, which cause girls undergoing illegal abortions, which could lead to many fatal accidents or traumas. If you have any information at all, or anything that could help me that would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much,


Dear Caitlin,

The issue of parental consent is a very important one--because like other restrictions put on women who want to have abortions, it endangers these women and further ostracizes them.

There is a famous case from Indiana. Becky Bell was a young woman, age 17, who got pregnant and didn't want to tell her parents, but Indiana had parental consent laws, which required her to do so. Instead she got an illegal abortion and died from an infection. Her parents were and continue to be pro-choice and very vocal opponents of parental consent laws. This one story alone is enough to illustrate why we shouldn't have parental consent laws, but, unfortunately, there are many more just like it.

At the Third Wave Foundation, an organization that I co-founded, we have a fund to support women who need abortions. We support many women who are confronting parental consent laws and are attempting to escape them either by going to another state and/or getting a judicial bypass.

There are lots of organizations working to defeat parental consent laws--for instance, NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League), Advocates for Youth, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. And the Alan Guttmacher Institute has research on the consequences of parental consent laws. I hope that helps.

Good luck with your presentation.


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