Abortion Notification Law|Clears Nevada Assembly

     CARSON CITY, Nev. (CN) – The Nevada State Assembly approved and sent to the state Senate a bill requiring parental notification for minors to receive an abortion.
      Assembly Bill 405 , by Assemblyman Ira Hansen, “prohibits, with certain exceptions, a physician from knowingly performing an abortion on a minor or ward unless written notice of the proposed abortion is delivered to at least one parent or guardian in the statutorily required manner.”
     The Assembly approved the bill 24-17 on April 17. The state Senate has not yet considered it.
     Nevada Families for Freedom president Janine Hansen worked with lawmakers on the bill.
     “Parents will have the support of the law when it comes to counseling their daughters,” Hansen said. “An abortion has lifelong consequences.”
     Nevada Right to Life president Melissa Clement added: “There is no other medical procedure that a girl gets that doesn’t involve parental notification. Why would abortions be the exception?”
     Planned Parenthood and the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence opposed the bill.
     “We’ve been following similar bills in other states and the pregnancy rates don’t go down, and the rate of women who involve their parents doesn’t go up,” said Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood president and CEO Elisa Cafferata.
     The Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, in Minnesota, a state with parental notification laws, reported that 65 percent of adolescents involve their parents in the decision to receive an abortion.
     In Wisconsin, a state without parental notification laws, 62 percent of adolescents involve their parents, according to the Bixby report .
     Clement said that in the more than 30 states that have similar laws, rates of abortions, sexual transmitted diseases and pregnancy rates have declined.
     “We have such bad metrics in Nevada when it comes to these issues,” Clement said. “We have to do anything we can to help.”
     Clement said young women need the support of their parents to make such a decision.
     “They’re in the most stressful situation they can be in and they don’t have the benefit of a parent being calm and helping them make a rational decision,” she said.
     Kristy Oriol, a policy specialist for the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence said her organization is concerned about the affects the bill will have on girls who live in violent homes.
     “Thirty percent of women who don’t tell anyone about terminated pregnancy are abused at home,” Oriol said.
     The Bixby Center reports states that “fear of physical harm, being kicked out of the house, or other abuse” and “difficult family situation(s), including drug dependency, loss of jobs, health problems, and marital strain” could cause young women to keep their parents out of it.
     Nevada’s law allows “judicial exemptions,” if “the pregnant woman is sufficiently mature and well-informed… capable, in consultation with a physician, of making a knowing, intelligent and deliberate decision,” or “if it … otherwise is or would be in the best interests of the pregnant woman to authorize a physician to perform the proposed abortion without notification of a parent or guardian.”
     Oriol said that exemption is not enough.
     “Having young girls get in front of a judge and talk about intimate details of their life is not feasible,” she said. “This bill doesn’t get at the root of the issue: education about pregnancy and violence at home.”
     Oriol would like sexual assault to be included in future conversations about the bill.
     Clement said her organization believes the bill will help girls who come from violent homes.
     “Girls get a secret abortion then go back into a bad situation,” Clement said. “This gives them one more chance to have an outside agency to step in and help.”
     The bill goes now to the Senate Finance Committee.
     “Assemblyman Hansen removed the fiscal note to get the bill moved through faster so [in the Finance Committee] we will get a more thorough picture on the financial impact,” Cafferata said.

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