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Smith: Parents right to be angry

Smith: Parents right to be angry

Parents who have vital information about their children kept from them have every right to be angry with the medical professionals, schools and counsellors who deny them that information, United Future MP Murray Smith said today, in announcing that he would look at drafting a Member's Bill to "rectify this ridiculous and hugely damaging situation".

“Society gives to parents the awesome responsibility of nurturing and instructing the next generation simply because the State has neither the resources nor the ability to do the job,” Mr Smith said.

“To then deny parents critical information about their children's well-being flies in the face of that responsibility and the rights of parents to know what is happening to their children.”

The issue has also arisen in the Care of Children Bill, which would continue the current provision by which pregnant minors can have an abortion without their parents even knowing, Mr Smith said.

An AC Nielsen poll of 1000 people in March showed 76 percent of respondents agreed that a parent or guardian should be notified before any decision was made for a girl under 16 to have an abortion. Some 51 percent of the respondents 'strongly agreed'.

Mr Smith said that a check of Hansard at the time the provision was originally put into the Status of Children Bill showed that the debate was all about parental consent which was thought not to be necessary because parents and children would have had an opportunity to discuss the issue and that the girl should make the final decision.

It was never envisaged that the issue would be kept from parents and it is only the later enactment of the Privacy Act that has created the problem, he said.

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