OLYMPIA… The Senate Law and Justice Committee will have a public hearing next week on legislation that would require an underage girl’s parent or guardian to be notified before she can have an abortion.
Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said Senate Bill 5156 will come before the committee he leads at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6. The measure would require that one parent or guardian receive 48 hours’ actual notice from the person intending to provide the abortion.
“This legislation would not prohibit an underage girl from having an abortion. It would simply give her parent or guardian the chance to talk with her ahead of time, or get ready to care for her afterward,” Padden said. “When you think of all the red tape we put up with when it comes to something as basic as children receiving medication while they’re at school, it seems reasonable that a parent should receive notification when his or her underage daughter is considering something as medically serious as an abortion.”
Padden noted the committee will consider a substitute version of the bill, not the original version, because of a conflict between the title of the bill and its original text.
“Our state constitution says in so many words that the title and text of a bill need to line up. This bill’s title is clearly about notifying parents or guardians; however, an error made in the bill-drafting stage had the effect of the original text going beyond the title,” Padden explained. “The code reviser’s office worked over the weekend to produce a new version that accurately reflects the intent of the 18 senators who have sponsored the bill.”
A recent statewide 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.
Here is the acknowledgment sent to Sen. Padden regarding the drafting error in the original text of SB 5156: