Abortion supporters promote study that faults parental notification laws

The Chronicle decided to give abortion supporters a big platform with this story in today's paper:

Two laws in Texas that limit teenagers' ability to confidentially obtain reproductive health care cost $44 million a year largely because of additional pregnancies, local researchers have found.


One requires teens younger than 18 to obtain parental consent before receiving prescription contraceptives, and the other requires health care providers to report to law enforcement agencies the identity of patients younger than 17 who they think are sexually active.

Is there any group that might have an interest in a study like this? Why, yes:

"But trying to legislate that teens and parents must communicate, and putting barriers to health care if teens do not, isn't going to solve the problem," said co-author Elena Marks, who is Mayor Bill White's health policy director.

Marks, who also is a volunteer at Planned Parenthood, said the paper was written and submitted before she joined White's administration. Another author, Laurie McGill, is vice president of medical services for Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas.

Well, that explains some things.

Now, about those costs:

The researchers estimated that 37 percent of girls who used reproductive health care services would stop doing so because of the parental notification requirements.

As a result, Franzini and her colleagues calculated that more than 8,000 additional pregnancies would occur annually among Texas adolescents. Because of prenatal costs, births and abortions, the total cost was nearly $44 million.

Locally, Planned Parenthood noticed a chilling effect almost immediately after enforcement of the laws, McGill said. The number of visits by minors in the second half of 2003, compared with 2002, dropped by 30 percent.

This study uses estimates. Based on Planned Parenthood numbers. And that "chilling effect" was, no doubt, chilling mostly to Planned Parenthood's revenue base. Teens absolutely should be talking to their parents, and not Planned Parenthood, which profits from abortions.

Toward the end of the article, the reporter notes this:

The local effect may not be as drastic as the numbers predicted because state law cannot trump federal rules, which say that clinics receiving federal family planning and Medicaid funds must allow confidential access.

A majority of Planned Parenthood clinics in Harris County receive these federal funds, so they are exempt from the new state law regarding contraceptives. But in other Texas cities, such as San Antonio, few, if any clinics receive federal family planning money.

Interestingly, the San Antonio Planned Parenthood website, which lists eight locations in and around San Antonio, says this in its "For Teens" section:

The Texas Parental Notification Law applies to pregnant teens who are 17 years of age or younger and have decided to have an abortion. The law requires your doctor to notify your parent, legal guardian or conservator at least 48 hours before you have an abortion.

The Texas Parental Notification Law does not apply to other services you may receive at Planned Parenthood, such as birth control, pregnancy testing or treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

That section goes on to helpfully tell teens how to get around the parental notification requirement for an abortion.

If you want to see the basis for the Chronicle story, all you have to do is look at the published study, because that's what the reporter did, with a sprinkling of phone call quotes thrown in for good measure.

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 12/18/04 10:49 AM | Print |

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