How do Parental Notice Laws Affect Abortion?

By Andy Kirchoff

So-called “Parental notification” laws exist in 36 states at the time of this writing, and have the support of nearly three-quarters of the American population – including a significant number of self-identified “pro-choice” citizens. Yet Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice organizations remain steadfastly opposed to such measures, citing the “threat to reproductive choice,” such laws pose:  “Any limitations put on abortion are heading backward in time,” said Becca Pauling, head of a women’s group in New Hampshire.

For those that have an unabashed opposition to any sort of abortion restriction, the opposition to parental notification law (or its older sibling, parental consent) is hardly surprising. For most Americans, however, the fact that a minor must acquire parental consent and/or notification to use tanning beds, to get a tattoo, or even to visit the dentist for a cavity filling makes the pro-choice movement’s ideological opposition to parental notification laws for abortion procedures seem extreme, to say the least. It also puts into question the “We’re-all-for-reducing-the-number-of-abortions!” argument pro-choice activists have begun to employ recently.

Why? Because parental notification laws are an excellent means of reducing the number of abortions. The states with such laws have the lowest abortion rates, whilst the states with no such law on the books have the highest abortion rates in the country. The clincher? This correlative data comes from none other than the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s own research arm! Similar studies from the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Journal of Public Health also offer further validation for this claim.
Finally, parental notification laws also have a protective incentive: teenagers in abusive situations are at risk as long as parental notification measures are in place. If Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocacy groups cared about women, wouldn’t they work to prevent situations like these by supporting parental notification?


Turley, Jonathan. “A parents right to know.” USA Today. Dec. 2005.

Salahi, Lara. “FDA Advises No Tanning Beds for Minors.” ABC NEWS. March 2010.

Jill. “Why I am Pro-Choice & Proud.” Amplify Your Voice blog. Jan. 2010.–Proud

Head, Tom. “Top Ten Anti-Abortion Myths.” Guide.

Short, Katie. “The danger Planned Parenthood Can’t Find.” LA Times. Oct. 2008.,0,7834597.story

Gerace, Miriam. “Forced Notification is no way to Protect Teens.” LA Times. Oct. 2008.,0,7834597.story

New, Michael P.h.D. “Getting it Wrong: How the New York Times Misinterprets Abortion Statistics and Arrives at Incorrect Conclusions.” The Heritage Foundation (Center for Data Analysis Report). July 2006.

Yes on 4 – Stop Child Predators. Friends of Sarah. Youtube. Oct. 2008.!

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