Teen Moms Can’t Vote On Abortion Bill That Targets Them

Montana plans to join the long list of states with an anti-abortion initiative on its November ballot, but unlike many of the others proposals, Montana’s targets a population that can’t even vote on it: teen moms.

Montana wants voters to decide whether or not a girl 16 or younger needs to have her parents meet with the doctor before she can get an abortion. It’s an aggressive version of parental consent and notification and one that doesn’t even seek the input of those most affected by the decision.

The measure is sponsored by Jerry Bennett (R-Libby) and was approved for public vote by the Montana Legislature last session. Bennett frames the issue strategically but entirely dodges the issue of legislating against a minority unable to vote themselves. “It’s not an abortion issue for me, it’s the right to be a parent,” he said. “Voters in Montana should have that right to at least be notified before their child has a major surgery.”

Like other notification supporters, Bennett points to other issues that require consent, more than even notification, for minors “If your young daughter is about to get her ears pieced or get a tattoo or go to a tanning bed, she needs permission. Why not with this issue?” he said.

The main problem with all of these consent and notification bills is they presume teen girls live in a safe, loving and supportive home environment. If only that were true. They also presume the pregnancy is not a product of abuse from within the family. And finally, they presume that a teenage girl has no right to decide if she is ready to be a parent on her own terms.

Even if that is what lawmakers believe, shouldn’t she at least get a vote on it?

Related Stories:

Federal Parental Consent Passes Out Of Committee

Federal Parental Consent Is Back, Gets Congressional Hearing

Photo from matrinak15 via flickr.


April Thompson
April Thompson5 years ago


Anne H.
Anne H5 years ago

You can't vote until you are 18, that is fine. There are many situations where a minor cannot vote on legislation that rules their life.

However there is not a certain age nor circumstance in which a girl becomes pregnant. If she is under 18 then someone from the state must step in to assist her. If she is below 16 (driving license age) then parents are informed. Too many parents project onto the girl so she is essentially forced to abort/not against her will. This is not okay. Counseling, she decides, parents informed, counseling requirement or parents charged. Once the parent is informed she is kept safe and also kept safe after if needed.

There are too many stories of a girl going home w/ parent to be coerced into parents desires....my niece would be an example.

BTW remarks about the pain, the experience would be different for everyone but most people are back in school, work the next day.

@Berny P, many girls get pregnant not knowing how (really) or the consequences-crappy parenting, religious/conservative views, rape, incest, bad judgement. This does not make her responsible enough to carry a child, raise a child to be a good human/citizen.

Ira L.
Ellie L5 years ago

First, how about letting some reality into your life, JanetD.
Second, young teens' lives are ruined having to have a child when they are still "children." Can they finish school? Get a degree to make something of themselves in the business world to "support" a "family?" WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE RELIGIOUS FREAKS who are mandating what people do with their personal lives. Live your own lives and STOP DICTATING to everyone in America how "YOU" think they should live their lives. Who the hell made you men God? You are all a bunch of degenerate psychotic sickos. Get the hell out of this country and start your own kingdom. Then you can be the DICTATOR-IN-CHIEF. BAN VIAGRA, CIALIS, PENIS EXTENSION, VASECTOMIES, and anything else that has to do with your disgusting penises.

Sheri Schongold
Sheri Schongold5 years ago

We are off to Mexico or another state or country that allows abortions. We are going to be looking at back alley abortionists and losing our females to God only knows what diseases, dirt and filth. All this because men and the do-gooders don't feel that women should be allowed to protect themselves with abortion or birth control. I am under the impression that if a woman is interested in either, they believe the world is well off without them.

Robert Fitzgerald

Sex is such an important aspect of growing up that I feel it is important that parents have some knowledge of what their kids are doing. For girls with loving parents abortion is a major decision that parents can help with. Studies have already shown that teen brains have little in the way adult level rational thinking AND, impulse control. Because of this, and this alone, it seems irresponsible to allow underage girls access to abortion without parental notification. It is an aspect of adult sexuality. I personally would be very angry at a doctor giving my daughter an abortion without me knowing about it.

On the other hand, there is valid concern with abusive or rigidly dogmatic parents who have promised severe punishment for sexual activity. Perhaps schools should have qualified counselors that can act for underage girls in this situation. But then, I do not live in an anti-abortion pro-death state.

Bridget Nicole
Bridget Nicole5 years ago

let kids make their own choices - bad or good, it will follow them forever an be a harsh reminder to think before they act next time - its the only reasons kids go off to college and ruin their lives because their used to mommy and daddy holding their hands in every choice - then when they are suddenly free, they dont know wat to do. u gota teach em younger so they learn to make their own right or wrong choices and live with em.

Juliet Defarge
judith sanders5 years ago

Forcing any woman to give birth should be a felony. It smacks of "breeding for the state." If the person forced to give birth is younger than 18, child abuse should be added to the charges.

Heather G.
Heather G5 years ago

if you have to start your comment by telling someone else to "shut it" what you have to say is pretty lame.

John Mansky
John Mansky5 years ago

Being that a Parent is responsible for a minors welfare until they are 18,they should be notified to give or not give consent before a minors abortion...

Wendy Johnson

Parental notification laws are a bad idea. They assume all the teenage girls who need abortions are going to come out of caring, protective families. Only the ones that do, are already going to their parents. The ones that don't need the protection of being able to see a doctor on their own, and maybe prevent the cycle of abuse or molestation from continuing for another generation.