Next month, ICAH youth and their adult allies will travel to Springfield to let our voices be heard about the dangers of parental notice of abortion law and offer performative advice to adults on how to have safe, affirming, healthy conversations with youth about sex and sexuality without legislating them. We work extremely hard through a variety of education and organizing tools to help both youth and adults build their comfort and competency with conversations at home, school and the doctor’s office so that healthy and resource-filled conversations are happening proactively and that in times of concern, the lines of communication are open and the routes to help are clear.
Most young people discuss their decision-making with a caring adult but it is not always a parent or guardian and we know that NOT all parents/guardians are safe to talk to. As such, this Parental Notice Law is nothing short of dangerous and a barrier to healthcare access.
It drives young people to get unsafe/illegal abortions to avoid having parents notified of their choice to have a safe procedure done by medical providers.
It means that young people who are already fearful of the judicial system may take desperate measures to avoid the extra effort to stand before a judge to obtain judicial bypass.
It means that young people who are being abused at home or pregnant by means they have not consented to have to confront abusers in humiliating ways.
It means that young people are subjected to homelessness and violence by parents who disapprove of their pregnancy.
It means that young people who are not interested or able to parent for mental, emotional, financial reasons or otherwise may be coerced into parenting by their own parents.
We wish these realities were not true but they are. If they are not true for you and your family, congratulations. However, please read the real stories of youth impacted by parental notice by visiting http://www.stoppna.org. Privacy means safety. We must protect the most vulnerable among us. Please come to Advocacy Day 4/3/3014 to let law-makers know that this law is UNSAFE and puts young people at risk. Please register here and donate to help us get to Springfield.
Executive Director, ICAH
Mother of a 13-year-old and 8-year-old
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A young woman did not want to involve her parents for fear that she, like her sister, would be forced to continue her pregnancy against her wishes. After her sister told her parents that she was pregnant, they forced her to give birth and put the child up for adoption. Her sister subsequently tried to commit suicide and was institutionalized for depression.
One young woman grew up in a violent home in which her emotionally disturbed brother had attacked her – he was eventually sent to live in a group. She did not share news of her pregnancy or her decision to have an abortion with her parents because she feared that the news of her pregnancy would be stressful and burdensome to her mother who was already struggling with coordinating her brother’s care. She also feared that if she told her mother about the pregnancy she too would be removed from the home.
A young woman had no one she could trust to take her to the courthouse, and had no access to a car, bus or train. Her only option was to arrange to take a taxi about 80 miles to the courthouse, which she did. Unfortunately, the taxi was more expensive than she predicted and she did not have enough money to make it to the courthouse. When she ran out of money, a good distance from the court, she had to get out of the cab at a subway station. Frightened and unfamiliar with a strange city she had never been to, this resourceful young woman eventually made it to the courthouse. Because she was forced to spend so much of her money on transportation, however, she could no longer afford the abortion without a loan.
A young woman lived in a town where only one bus went to the court each day. She arrived at the bus station on time, but had to run into the restroom because of her morning sickness. While she was in the bathroom, the bus pulled away. Determined not to miss her hearing which would force her to delay her abortion, she hitchhiked 40 miles to the courthouse, something she had never done before.