Sen. Mike Padden was among a majority of Senate Law and Justice Committee members who today endorsed legislation to require that an underage girl’s parent or guardian is notified before she can have an abortion.
Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said the vote on Senate Bill 5156 completes the work he and 17 other Republican and Democrat senators began in 2013 to make sure at least one parent or guardian receives 48 hours’ notice from the person intending to provide the abortion.
“The benefit of this bill is the same today as when it came before our committee for a public hearing this past legislative session,” said Padden, who is chairman of the panel. “It would not prohibit an underage girl from having an abortion but would simply give her parent or guardian the chance to talk with her ahead of time, or get ready to care for her afterward. Isn’t that an opportunity any parent or guardian would prefer to have, given the choice?
“Think about what it takes for parents to arrange for their children to receive medication at school, then ask whether it seems reasonable to notify a parent when his or her underage daughter is considering something as medically serious as an abortion.”
A 2013 poll commissioned by Human Life of Washington and conducted by Portland-based Moore Information found 65 percent of those responding were in favor of parents being notified before a girl under age 18 could have an abortion. Padden said the poll results found 25 percent of respondents were opposed and 9 percent were undecided.
In 1995, as chairman of the law and justice committee in the House of Representatives, Padden co-sponsored and held a public hearing on a similar bill; it went on to receive House approval but did not receive a hearing in the Senate.
Three years later the Senate approved a parental-notification bill; it also received committee approval in the House but was not brought to a full House vote.