Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Do Minors Need Parental Involvement For An Abortion? These Laws Can Present Barriers

By
Ad failed to load

As 2017 comes to a close, there are currently 37 states that require parental involvement for a minor to get an abortion. That means that anyone under the age of 18 in a majority of America need one or both parents to be part of the decision to have an abortion. There's some obvious logic there: Minors need parental permission to do lots of things, so getting parental permission for a medical procedure makes sense at first thought. However, a new study from Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), which is based at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), found that parental notification laws for abortion could potentially put minors at medical risk.

"Proponents of these laws often argue that they’re necessary in order to ensure positive family communication about abortion decisions," Lauren Ralph, epidemiologist at UCSF and the lead author of the study, tells me in an interview for Elite Daily. "But we actually know very little about what happens with respect to minors’ decision-making or their experience accessing care when they are mandated by law to involve a parent."

The study, published on Dec. 13, analyzed almost 1,600 young women seeking abortions in Illinois, where a parental notification law was put in effect in 2013 (meaning that a young woman needs to tell at least one parent before getting an abortion). Overall, the study found no increase in a young woman's certainty in making the decision to get an abortion. Additionally, there was no noted increase in parental support.

Ad failed to load

"Although more minors involved a parent in their decision after the law went into effect, this increased level of parental involvement did not translate into increased levels of parental support for the decision," Ralph says. Meanwhile, there was a trend "towards less certainty about their decision after the law went into effect."

More troubling, however, were results from the study that indicated that there were delays in care for young women with the parental notification law in place. After the law was enacted, a higher proportion of young women from outside of the state — from states with even stricter laws — traveling to Illinois to get an abortion were seeking the procedure in the second trimester of a pregnancy, rather than in the first. The longer you wait into a pregnancy for the procedure, the more complex — and potentially dangerous — an abortion becomes (although, overall, abortion is a very safe procedure).

Ad failed to load

"Since we also see that these laws are associated with an increase in the proportion of minors accessing second-trimester care, it calls into question whether the downsides to these laws outweigh the potential benefit," Ralph says. "Since we see an increase in the proportion accessing second-trimester abortion, that suggests that they’re facing additional barriers after the law goes into effect."

Pete Marovich/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Laws surrounding abortion often hinge on the question of "undue burden," as was the case for the landmark Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt Supreme Court case. Basically, that means that courts have to measure if the benefits of a law outweigh the negatives. If they don't, it's considered an unconstitutional undue burden.

Ad failed to load

"I think that our research definitely calls into question the utility of laws that mandate parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion," Ralph says.

Before the law went into place, about two-thirds of minors already involved a parent in the process to get an abortion, the report says. And, as mentioned, parental involvement did not improve parental support or how certain young women felt in their decision to get an abortion. Meanwhile, there were the questions of barriers to care. In addition to the increase in second-trimester abortions, the researchers found an overall decrease in minors seeking abortions — although the report did not look into the reason for that.

While parental involvement can often be helpful for a teenager, there are many cases where the law would present more of a barrier. (If a teenager is unable to fulfill the parental notification requirement, there is an option to seek a "judicial bypass" — i.e. go to court and get a judge to allow them to get the medical procedure. It's a tough bind for teenagers.) This barrier is not limited to teenagers being nervous about telling a parent — consider, for instance, teenagers with abusive or incarcerated parents. For them, these laws are a much more serious barrier to care.

Ad failed to load

The effects of a law as simple-sounding as parental notification can be wide-ranging, and it's important to consider every woman. Anti-abortion politicians often state that a law is enacted to "protect women," but studies like these show what's going on in reality. More often than not, all that laws around abortion do is make accessing health care even more difficult for women of all ages.

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

The Travel Accessory You Need This Summer, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Leaving behind your hometown and exploring the great beyond is one of the most important things you'll ever do in your lifetime. It breaks the monotony of your daily routine, pushes you out of your comfort zone, and forces you to appreciate a world c…
By Roya Backlund

6 Commitment-Free Ways To Change Up Your Look After A Breakup, If You Feel Like It

I'm married and not breaking up (I just had to clarify before I get a call from my husband wondering what's going on). However, if for some reason we ever did separate (again, not happening!), I've imagined I'd have this Eat, Pray, Love moment where …
By Stephanie Montes

Here's Everything That's Leaving Netflix In June

Summer is here, and with it comes plenty of opportunity to binge watch more movies and TV shows that we never knew we needed in our lives. May has passed by in a blink of an eye, so I definitely need to catch up on what Netflix is getting rid of afte…
By Kristen Perrone

Cherry Print Is One Of Summer's Biggest Fashion Trends & It's So Much Sweeter Than Florals

If there's one thing that I've had my eye on this summer it's a cool, flirty cherry-print dress. Along with versatile black tops and blue denim, the color red has become a staple in my wardrobe this year and anytime I can infuse it into my daily look…
By Ariana Marsh

13 Must-Have Experiences You Should Buy In Your 20s, Instead Of A New Couch

Life is one big experience. When you hit your 20s, though, you start getting pulled in the direction of your responsibilities. It isn't totally a bad thing, but you don't want to get so wrapped into adulting that you forget life's zest. Amazing exper…
By Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

I Tried Kim Kardashian's Weird Beauty Obsession & I Can't Stop Taking Selfies

You've been there before: You're scrolling through your Instagram feed when you see your favorite celeb post about their favorite new product — a face serum, vitamins that will make your skin brighter, or a specialty food service. You can't help but …
By Stephanie Montes

Where You Should Vacation This Summer, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Summer is so much more than just sweating in 90 degree weather and enjoying a long, lazy break from school (if you're lucky enough to still be in school). It's a time for making exciting new plans, falling madly and hopelessly in love, opening your m…
By Roya Backlund

Wander or Bust: The Amalfi Coast May Just Be The Most Beautiful Thing You'll Ever See

Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown. They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, a…
By Kaylin Pound

6 Brutally Honest Phases Of Life After A Breakup, Because You Will Survive 

If you've ever been through a bad breakup, you know that the struggle is real. For the weeks (or possibly months, if it was a really bad one) that follow, life can be rough, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Don't believe me? Just l…
By Rachel Shatto

Here's How You Can Find Out What Your Aura Color Is

Do you remember that movie Almost Famous? More specifically, the scene where William is trying to have a phone call with his mom, but a clairvoyant Band-Aid keeps shouting "Your aura is purple!" in his face? Well, that was the first time I had ever h…
By Roya Backlund

9 Women In Their 20s Reflect On The Advice They Wish They Had At Graduation

Graduating college can feel seriously scary. You've spent your entire life in school, working and preparing for the moment you enter the real world, but what happens when you get there? What if things don't go totally according to plan? You may have …
By Brittney Morgan

3 Early Signs You Are Going To Have Undeniable Chemistry With Your Crush

I don't know if there's anything better than the excitement of having a new crush — especially when that feeling's reciprocated. The butterflies that rush through your stomach as soon as they enter a room. The electricity that zips through your veins…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Emoji Pool Floats Are Here To Match Every Mood You’re In This Summer

Searching for the perfect poolside accessory to lounge around in this summer? This year’s hottest warm weather water trend isn’t a big floppy hat or designer sunglasses — it’s an emoji pool float. That’s right: Your favorite little digital expression…
By Rachel Murphy

Here's How Your Mood & Your Favorite Music Are Secretly Connected, According To Science

If you're someone who's likely to be found with ear buds in her ears at all times, you might not realize just how often you listen to music, or the ways in which it's really affecting you. From your morning commute to the tunes you blast while you co…
By Caroline Burke

This Is How Long It Takes For A Partner To Really Trust You, According To Experts

Trust is easily one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship, but typically, it's not something that's fully there from the start because it takes some time to build. How long it takes for a partner to trust you is a question that doesn'…
By Tayi Sanusi

7 Things You Forgot To Thank Your High School Friends For & Should ASAP

Friends are a dime a dozen, but a solid, genuine group of girlfriends can be difficult to come by. When you find your tribe, you need to stick with them until the end. For some lucky people, your high school friends have been your besties since day o…
By Rachel Chapman

These 3 Zodiac Signs Will Have The Best Week, So Bask In The Glory

It's officially the second week of May, and the warmth of spring has finally arrived. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the bright weather is allowing everyone to finally break out their favorite pair of shorts. If you think the gorgeou…
By Roya Backlund

7 Men Reveal What Attracted Them To Their Last Crush & They'll Make You Swoon

He reminded me of Nate Archibald from Gossip Girl. That's legitimately what I found appealing about my most recent crush. Sorry, but it doesn't get any deeper than that. In other instances though, when I'm not trying to live out my lustful, adolescen…
By Sydnee Lyons

A Relationship Expert Reveals His Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide

"Long-distance relationships are extremely relaxing and easy to navigate," said no one in a long-distance relationship ever. Whether you are bicoastal babes or a quick two-hour train ride apart, distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also makes…
By Kimmy Foskett
)}