One of the most evil manifestations of the abortion industry and the "health" system is their ability to have abortions performed on schoolgirls without the knowledge or consent of the child's parents.

This ugly injustice raised its unsavoury head again this week when a mother told the press of her horror and anger that her 16-year-old daughter had had a secret abortion arranged by a school counsellor.

This is a matter against which pro-life organisations and others have railed for years, but seldom is it aired in the media.

That's not surprising considering the secrecy under which the abortion industry hides its sordid and often unlawful machinations.

Says Bernard Moran, national president of Voice for Life: "I have had the distressing experience of parents ringing to vent their outrage on finding that their under-16-year-old daughter has had a secret abortion.

"They are incredulous that this can happen without them being notified beforehand.

"In the case of a school counsellor, they want to know what their rights are and what redress is available. And I have to tell them that the law protects those involved and upholds the girl's right to confidentiality. In these cases, the parents have no rights themselves."

And Bob McCoskrie, national director of Family First: "The law currently means that while a parent has to sign a letter for a daughter to go on a school trip to the zoo or to play in the netball team, they are totally excluded from any knowledge or granting of permission for that same child to be given contraceptives, have a vaccination, or have a surgical abortion."

This is intolerable.

That a school counsellor should be able to act in loco parentis in such a life-changing matter is simply beyond comprehension. Particularly is that so when the law provides that parents are legally responsible for their offspring until the children turn 18 or marry, or enter into a civil union or a de facto relationship with their parents' permission.

I wonder how many parents are still unaware that their teenage or younger daughter has had an abortion - or perhaps two. The Abortion Supervisory Committee report for the year ended June last year revealed that 79 girls aged between 11 and 14, and 3873 girls aged between 15 and 19, had abortions.

An attempt was made back in 2004 to have the law changed when the Care of Children Bill was before Parliament. National MP Judith Collins, now the Minister of Police, Corrections and Veterans Affairs, sought a law change to make it mandatory for doctors to tell parents if their daughter under 16 sought an abortion.

In September that year, this newspaper published the results of a Herald-DigiPoll survey that showed that 71.1 per cent of those surveyed supported parental notification.

The then chairwoman of the Medical Association, Dr Tricia Briscoe, played a leading part in lobbying MPs and rallying the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners to oppose the Collins amendment.

It didn't have a show, really, because the then Prime Minister, Helen Clark, was known to be implacably opposed to parental notification.

She refused to allow her Labour MPs a conscience vote, knowing that a number supported the Collins amendment. The amendment was lost.

Well, the tables have turned and Ms Collins is now in a position of power.

All I can do is beseech her to take this matter up again with her colleagues and coalition partners and reintroduce her original amendment to Parliament. Yes, even in an election year.

Because the sooner this dreadful aberration in the law is fixed, the sooner a lot of girls will be saved from having to undergo the trauma of an abortion.

Family First's Mr McCoskrie reports that parental notification laws in Texas, Michigan, and other US states including liberal Minnesota, have seen a drop in both the pregnancy rate and the teen abortion rate, what he calls "a win-win situation for all concerned".

And a thoroughly scientific study in 2006 by Dr Priscilla Coleman, a research psychologist at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, refuted a long-standing contention that teenagers are better able to handle an abortion than dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.

The study found that adolescent girls who had an abortion were five times more likely to seek help for psychological and emotional problems than those who kept their babies.

The study also found that teenagers who had abortions instead of carrying the pregnancy to term were also more than three times more likely to report subsequent trouble sleeping, and nine times more likely to report subsequent drug use.

Dr Coleman pointed out that, while having a child as a teen might be problematic, "the risks of terminating seem to be even more pronounced".

"The scientific evidence is now strong and compelling. Abortion poses more risks to women than giving birth."

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