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Labour shows its colours on parental rights

Judith Collins MP National Party Families Spokeswoman

29 September 2004

Labour shows its colours on parental rights

National Party Families spokeswoman Judith Collins is disappointed that the Government continues to show a cavalier disregard to the rights of parents when it comes to underage abortions.

"I had hoped that Labour might now be prepared to act to protect vulnerable young girls and parents' rights, following a poll that shows strong support for a law to ensure parents are told if their underage daughter seeks an abortion.

"Statements by David Benson-Pope on the issue confirm my belief that Labour is out of touch with parents and the wider community.

"Mr Benson-Pope claims the current law is working. If that's true, why is there now an abortion performed on a girl aged between 11 and 14 every four days in this country?" says Ms Collins.

In his statement, Mr Benson-Pope has said that as the father of a teenage daughter he understood that a majority of parents would want to know if their daughter was seeking an abortion.

"Why then, is he opposed to legislation that would still give those from abusive backgrounds a judicial opt-out?

"Is Mr Benson-Pope really prepared to ignore that vast majority when he claims to 'understand' them, or is he just saying the public are incapable of forming their own opinions?

"It is also outrageous for Mr Benson-Pope to continue to claim that girls as young as 11 are 'young women' and mature enough to deal with these complex feelings and emotions on their own.

"It's clear he is acting on instructions from above to shut parents out of the process.

"Helen Clark has certainly made no secret of her opposition to the law change. The question now is whether she will permit her MPs to vote with their consciences on this matter.

"I expect a number of her colleagues would back my legislation if they're allowed," says Ms Collins.

ENDS

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