CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Legislation that would modify a state law requiring parental notification of abortions performed on minors has the support of a pro-life group in West Virginia.
Bills pending in both the state Senate and state House of Delegates would eliminate a physician’s waiver, which currently allows a minor to get an abortion without notifying the parent. Both the doctor performing the abortion and a second doctor have to sign off on it, according to the law.
But Karen Cross, coordinator with West Virginians For Life, said that’s not enough. She said a parent needs to know about the abortion because teenage girls are not mature enough to make that decision.
“A second physician can sign off and saying that this little girl — he doesn’t even know this little girl — but he can say that she is mature enough to make this decision and she’s 16 or 13,” Cross said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
Monday was Pro-Life Day at the state Capitol where West Virginians For Life hosted an afternoon rally pushing for passage of the bills.
The current law says a young girl may avoid the notification requirement if she is in an abusive family situation or has been raped. Pro-choice advocates say that allows physicians with the waiver to protect vulnerable teenage girls. Cross called it “a loophole in the law.”
“She can’t have her ears pierced without her parent’s consent and yet they won’t even know that she’s had this surgical procedure?” Cross said.
“We need to be protecting our little girls,” she continued. “We don’t need to be sending them back into abusive situations and I believe this is one way that we can do that.”
HB 2002 is before the House Health and Human Resources Committee.
SB 424 is before the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee.
The 2017 Regular Legislative Session runs through April 8.