MA Lawmakers Discuss Bill Lowering Age of Consent for Abortions to 16
On Tuesday, the Joint Committee on Public Health discussed Bill S.754, which is designed to safeguard the health care decisions of young adults.
The bill is aimed at lowering the age of consent for a Massachusetts resident to have an abortion from 18 to 16, and that girls 15 or under can do so with the consent of only one parent or legal guardian, whereas current legislation requires both parents.
Michael King, Director of Community Alliances for the Massachusetts Family Institute, appeared on WBSM Tuesday and told host Barry Richard that in Massachusetts, minors are required to have parental consent before getting a tattoo, a piercing, drinking a beer at home or receiving non-prescription medication at school for a headache. He said lowering the age for an abortion without consent is far more of an important decision than any of those things, and the parents should not be taken out of the equation.
"Why do we requiring consent from parents on these things, but when it comes to actual pregnancy and a life, we want to make that all the way down to 16?" he asked.
King said that back in 2015, a similar bill proposed that girls 15 and under could get an abortion with consent from any relative, not just a parent or legal guardian. That would include siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.
"That's not part of this particular bill, but it's just crazy that these bills are trying to take parents completely out of the decision," he said. "I'm sure in the next two years, another bill will come up saying now we want to take parents completely out of the picture."
King said he is urging those opposed to become what he calls a "two-minute activist," taking two minutes to call their local lawmakers and voice their opposition.
"This just creates a slippery slope for them to say, 'Now that the legislature says this is OK, I'm just going to go down to the clinic and have this done,'" he said.
He said it's not the only bill the Massachusetts Family Institute is fighting.
"This is just one bill that represents many bills at the State House that are an attack on parental consent," King said. "It's been a main theme in so many bills coming our way."
He said lawmakers are also exploring having those who give so-called "conversion therapy" to a minors prosecuted as child abusers.
"Basically, they want to make any kind of counseling way from an LGBTQ lifestyle for a minor, if that minor wants to be counseled away from that lifestyle, or the therapist wants them to be, that would be child abuse under the law," he said.
Another bill is getting the MFI's support. House Bill 2883 would require parental consent for students to be provided with materials "involving information or counseling about health, psychological problems, reproduction, abortion, sexual education, sexual orientation, gender identity, bullying or similar issues."
King said the bill was proposed after a child on Cape Cod was sent without parental consent to a Gay-Straight Alliance group at school, and that surveys are handed out to children as young as 11 years old asking them about sexual experiences and gender identification.