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The tragedy of parental notification laws

Most parents want to believe their children will come to them with any problem they are faced with. As a parent, I can attest to that. When I think back to my own coming of age milestones however, I remind myself of how very little my parents really knew about what I was doing, or what I was going through. It has very little to do with parenting style. Even the children who feel closest to their parents hold secrets.

In the case of parental notification laws, the secrets your children may be holding could prove tragic. That is exactly what happened to Becky Bell.
Becky was a 17 year old girl from Indianapolis, Indiana. Her parents rushed her to the hospital in September of 1988 when she became violently ill. Becky was harboring a secret that even in her final hours, she would keep.

It would later be determined during an autopsy that she died from streptococcus pneumonia as a direct result of an unsafe abortion. Becky had become pregnant and was fearful of telling her parents. To make matters worse, she would learn that to obtain an abortion in her state, she needed either parental consent or a waiver by a judge.

Becky felt stuck. If she couldnít tell her parents she was pregnant she certainly couldnít tell a judge. She felt the only option she had was an abortion. That meant, even if it was an unsafe one. Six days after an unsafe and illegal abortion, Becky would die from the related infection.

Beckyís parents lost their daughter before her life was even able to begin.
You may think that your children tell you everything you need to know. You may think they will come to you if and when any life changing circumstance comes upon them. In reality, more kids will try to keep it a secret at all costs. Do you want to live in a state that can make their secret deadly?

I understand wanting to be informed about what your child is facing. I have 3 kids. I wish I could hire a private detective to follow their every move. Unfortunately, we canít be with them for everything. We have to trust that, what we have taught them will see them through whatever comes their way.

I donít believe the state should have anything to do with a personal family matter. Had Indiana not had the law in place, Becky could have received proper care, and would still be alive. This law does not protect your teenager daughter. In the case of the Bell family, it took theirs.

Parental Consent for Minors Seeking Abortions is the law in 36 states.

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