Should parental consent be required for pregnant minors to have abortions?
Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. (Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by party; black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria.)
Chuck Baldwin, Founder and Minister of the Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL, issued the following statement through his Communications Director, Mary Starrett, in an Aug. 11, 2008 email to ProCon.org:
"Pro. But abortion would be illegal, so this would not be applicable."
Bob Barr, former US House Representative (R-GA), stated in a Feb. 7, 2002 article titled "Barr Co-Sponsors Key Pro-Life Legislation" on his US House of Representatives website:
"A parent should expect to be fully informed of what is going on in their child's life, especially those areas that affect their health and well-being...The 'Child Custody Protection' Act ensures parents can rely on the law to protect their parental rights and the health of their children. Teenagers should not be permitted to cross state lines to have serious surgery, or to end a life, at least without their parents knowing about it." Feb. 7, 2002 Bob Barr
John McCain, US Senator (R-AZ), stated in the Sep. 29, 2006 Congressional Record on the Library of Congress, THOMAS website:
"...[D]espite the fact that 23 States require a minor to receive parental consent prior to obtaining an abortion, these important laws are being violated. Today, minors, with the assistance of adults who are not their parents, are being transported across State lines to receive abortions without obtaining parental consent. We must end this circumvention of State laws and, more importantly, the consequences such actions have on life."
Barack Obama, US Senator (D-IL), stated in a Jan. 5, 2004 Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization questionnaire titled "IVI-IPO 2004 US Senate Questionnaire":
"I oppose spousal notification or consent [to obtain an abortion]. Regarding parental notification, I would oppose any legislation that does not include a bypass provision for minors who have been victims of, or have reason to fear, physical or sexual abuse." Jan. 5, 2004Barack Obama
(Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria appear
below in black and white and in alphabetical order by party.)
Hillary Clinton, US Senator (D-NY), stated in the July 25, 2006 Congressional Record on the Library of Congress, THOMAS website:
"While we all hope that young women will involve their parents in these decisions, mandating parental consent has the serious potential to do more harm than good. In fact, during congressional testimony, Dr. Warren Seigel, an expert in adolescent medicine, stated that legislation mandating parental involvement 'represents bad medicine and places politics before the health of our youth.'" July 25, 2006 Hillary Clinton
Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, stated in a Jan. 18, 2005 State News Service article titled "Arkansas to March for Life":
"...I signed a bill requiring minors to obtain parental consent before getting an abortion. It was amazing to me that minors were required to get parental consent before getting ears pierced or a tattoo, but they were allowed to have this major surgical procedure without their parents having any say whatsoever."
ProCon.org emailed the Imperato campaign on Feb. 22, 2008 with this question. Mr. Imperato provided a response to this question and 26 others during a recorded 45-minute telephone interview with ProCon.org on Mar. 11, 2008. On Mar. 21, 2008 Mr. Imperato no longer met our eligibility criteria for inclusion on this site, and we stopped transcribing his verbal responses as of that date.
Alan Keyes, former Assistant US Secretary of State, stated in the "Abortion / Life Issues" section on his official candidate website (accessed Apr. 2, 2008):
"Our rights, including the right to life, are unalienable. If we kill ourselves or consent to allow another to do so, we both destroy and surrender our right to life. We act unjustly. We usurp the power that belongs solely to the Creator, and deny the basis of our claim to human rights." Apr. 2, 2008Alan Keyes
Steve Kubby, a Libertarian candidate and founder of the American Medical Marijuana Association, stated in a Feb. 22, 2008 email to ProCon.org:
"From a medical standpoint, abortion is normally a non-emergency, elective procedure. I know of no other non-emergency, elective medical procedure in which it is considered controversial to ascribe authority -- and responsibility -- to parents when the patient is a minor. Schools won't dispense aspirin to students without parental consent. A teenager can't get an ear pierced unless mom or dad signs off. No medical doctor who wanted to remain licensed would perform liposuction or non-emergency heart surgery on a minor before getting parental consent. Children's parents make these decisions for them. That's how it works, and I don't see why abortion should be an exception.
That said, I think that we do need to reconsider the very definition of 'minor.' The laws vary from state to state, but in general you can drive at 16, vote and get drafted at 18, but you can't drink until you're 21. There's no sensible argument for this -- it's like we pulled numbers out of a hat or something. Instead of assigning arbitrary ages for the exercise of adult prerogatives, we should recognize people as adults when they assume responsibility for their lives. This might be a formal process (such a process already exists, and courts already 'emancipate' teens from their parents occasionally), or it might be informal but contestible (there's a procedure in place for contesting it as well -- see Britney Spears' situation for a recent and well-known example)." Feb. 22, 2008Steve Kubby
Frank McEnulty, an Independent candidate and President of Our Castle Homes, in a Feb. 28, 2008 email to ProCon.org, stated:
"Absolutely, positively and without exception. If there are parents responsible for the care and welfare of a minor this must be their decision. I also believe this is a right which must be established by the states. If not, then the minor's legal guardians would be responsible for making these decisions." Feb. 28, 2008 Frank McEnulty
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), in a Mar. 28, 2005 article titled "Dr. Paul's Writings: Pro-Life Politics?" on his official candidate website, stated:
"This federalization of social issues, often championed by conservatives, has not created a pro-life culture, however. It simply has prevented the 50 states from enacting laws that more closely reflect the views of their citizens. Once we accepted the federalization of abortion law under the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, we lost the ability to apply local community standards to ethical issues. It is much more difficult for pro-life advocates to win politically at the federal level. Those who seek a pro-life culture must accept that we will never persuade 300 million Americans to agree with us. Our focus should be on overturning Roe and getting the federal government completely out of the business of regulating state matters." Mar. 28, 2005 Ron Paul