New Hampshire anti-abortion politicians Rep Fran Wendelboe and former State Rep Phyllis Woods have gotten their socks in a bunch over HB 184. The bill repeals the state’s 2003 parental notification law that requires doctors to notify at least one parent 48 hours before performing an abortion on a minor. The other day the two Republican warhorses tossed a couple of tired chestnuts at repeal supporters: minors need parental consent to get their ears pierced or get an aspirin from the school nurse. It follows, they argue, that parents should have a right to a “say” in their minor daughters’ decision to get an abortion.
Wendelboe and Woods, however, haven’t always been so concerned about that parental “say.” In 2003, while they were busy saving fetuses, Woods sponsored and Wendelboe backed HB 104, New Hampshire’s Safe Haven newborn abandonment law that encourages these minor daughters to hide pregnancies from their parents, forgo prenatal care, and give birth alone and in secret in places like bathtubs or hotel rooms. The law lets these “desperate mothers” then anonymously drop-off their newborns at the neighborhood fire or police station or hospital, or even at a church with no questions asked– and return home to mom and dad as if nothing has happened. No name. No shame. No blame.
What kind of twisted legal system requires a minor to inform her parents about her unwanted pregnancy if she wants to terminate it, but encourages her to keep that same unwanted pregnancy a secret from her parents if she intends to carry to term, give birth unattended, and anonymously abandon her baby?
Wendelboe and Woods need to put their money where their mouths are. If they are genuinely dedicated to parental notification, they should demand that their Safe Haven law be repealed immediately. After all, don’t parents have a right to a “say” in their minor daughters’ reproductive decisions?