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Yesterday, the Legislature’s Program Review and Investigations Committee heard significant testimony on parental notification for minors seeking abortions at its public hearing on teen health.

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The Family Institute of Connecticut played a key role in arranging this first-ever hearing on parental notification.

Sen. Michael McLachlan (R-Danbury) testified about parental notification. He observed that Connecticut legislators want parental notification for teen tanning but not for teen abortions. “Connecticut is fifth in the nation for teen abortions. Connecticut’s teen abortion rate is fifty-five percent higher than the national average,” McLachlan stated. “Parental notification crosses the boundary between pro-life and pro-choice… parental notification is a reasonable expectation of this legislature,” he added. Legislators also heard heart-wrenching testimony from the directors of crisis pregnancy centers, who counsel teens considering abortion on a daily basis.

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“Parental notification is a common-sense protection for Connecticut’s youth,” stated FIC Executive Director Peter Wolfgang. “Over thirty-six states, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania have laws requiring parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. If a school nurse can’t administer aspirin to a minor without a parent’s consent, it’s just common sense that the parent should be involved in a child’s decision to undergo a surgical procedure like abortion,” stated Wolfgang.

“Currently, Connecticut law deprives teens of the benefit of guardianship when faced with the decision whether to obtain an abortion. It is not a decision that teens should make alone,” he added.

“The lack of a parental notification law creates a loophole that is exploited by human traffickers and statutory rapists,” stated Wolfgang. In 2008, a West Hartford man, Adam Gault, was arrested for abducting a 13-year old girl and holding her captive as his sex slave for over a year. In the course of her captivity, Gault impregnated the girl and had her brought to the Planned Parenthood in West Hartford for an abortion.

“If Connecticut had a parental notification law, Adam Gault would have been apprehended much sooner,” commented Wolfgang. “Right now, human traffickers and statutory rapists can cover up their crimes by obtaining abortions for their victims. Knowingly or not, Planned Parenthood aids and abets criminals like Adam Gault in covering up their unspeakable offenses,” he added.

“Raymond Bechard’s new book, The Berlin Turnpike: A True Story of Human Trafficking in America, has drawn significant attention to the human trafficking of minors in Connecticut. Passing a parental notification law is an important step towards combating this problem and increasing scrutiny on human traffickers,” elaborated Wolfgang.

“We also offer a special thanks to Sen. John Kissel (R-Enfield). It was Sen. Kissel who first suggested the idea that led to yesterday’s hearing at FIC’s February 3rd legislative breakfast. It was his good advice that led to FIC’s biggest ever pro-active victory, a public hearing on parental notification,” concluded Wolfgang.