Mothers for Choice backs girls' right
Mothers for Choice backs girls' right to keep their abortions private
A pro-choice group, Mothers for Choice, says that it is essential that young women have the right to access abortions without their parents' consent, and with as much support as possible from within their schools.
"As parents, we know how important it is to have open dialogue with our children about important events in their lives," said spokesperson Rebecca Matthews. "But we need to balance that with the ability of our children to access the medical and counselling support they need when they find themselves facing an unwanted pregnancy."
Matthews said that young women patients had the same right to privacy about their medical care as adult women, and that the law needed to protect these girls from any coercion or abuse regarding their decisions - and especially from any abuse within the home.
"Clearly, it would be upsetting to discover your child had gone through a termination that you could have supported them through," said Matthews. "But that upset cannot outweigh young women's access to the health services they need and their rights as patients."
Matthews said the Sunday Star-Times article that has sparked the debate lacked balance, and that it was particularly unhelpful to include a story about a teenager who happily proceeded with her pregnancy in relation to the issue.
"We should not be pitting young women against each other for the different decisions they make," said Matthews. "Instead, we should be focusing on making sure that all young women have good information about sexual health, good support systems in schools and the respect to make their own decisions without fear of judgement."