27 Aug 2015

Tell parents about children's abortions - mother

6:21 pm on 27 August 2015

A mother has made an emotional plea to MPs urging them to change the law so parents are informed if their under-age child seeks an abortion.

No caption

The lack of support for under-age girls who seek an abortion is being highlighted in the petition. Photo: 123rf.com

Hillary Kieft has presented a petition to Parliament, asking for an amendment to the Care of Children Act, which is now before the Justice and Electoral select committee.

Mrs Kieft told MPs today that in 2009 her daughter, who was 15 at the time, had an abortion without the family's knowledge and any support.

She said the teenager was left infertile, had struggled with depression, and attempted suicide.

"As a family, we are standing together to see a change for parental rights. We do not want other families to go through the pain and suffering we have had to endure.

"The current law intends to protect girls. So, as a mother, I want to know - show me how."

There was a double standard, she said.

"It is a sad irony that a school requires a written consent of parents for permission to attend a school trip... to be given Pamol, an aspirin.

"Yet they may secretly take her out of school for an abortion without her parents' knowledge."

The family's local MP, Chester Borrows, said parents had a right to be informed so they could provide support to their child.

"Our starting point is that a lot of those young women make that decision from immaturity. The research shows that the reason why girls don't disclose to their parents is because they don't want to hurt their parents and they love them."

Another committee member, Green MP Jan Logie, said it was very moving to hear from Mrs Kieft and she had a lot of empathy for her and her family. But she did not support a law change.

"My concern would be that young people who might be pregnant wouldn't go and talk to anybody and would try and sort the problem out themselves and that would be a a huge risk," she said.

Chair of the Abortion Supervisory Committee Dame Linda Holloway told the committee that the wellbeing of a young woman who was pregnant was paramount.

"There will be inevitably instances where things could have been done better.

"Does that balance that it is mandatory that parents are told in all circumstances of confirmation of pregnancy of their daughters? Perhaps not."

Justice Minister Amy Adams said she would not comment as she did not want to pre-empt the process when it was still before select committee.