The Importance of Parental Consent

Protecting Children with Parental Consent Laws

Michigan State Capitol Building
Photo by Brian Charles Watson
CC BY-SA 3.0

From Right to Life of Michigan

The Parental Consent for Abortion Law has been the law of the land since 1990. The law was put into place through a citizen initiative petition, meaning Michiganders gathered together to collectively fight for the rights of parents and the protection of children. The regulations for any medical procedure, taking Tylenol at school, or getting your ears pierced were also applied to getting an abortion as a minor—all require parental consent. Without this law, parents could be completely taken out of the equation when it comes to a life-threatening drug/surgery.

Not only does Michigan’s parental consent law keep parents involved, but it also provides an extra layer of protection for children. One example of that is children in the foster care system.

Children cycling through the U.S. foster care system are four times more likely to be sexually abused compared to children not in the foster care system, according to John Hopkins University. Another study found that of 155 minor girls that were questioned for the study, 81% of them had been sexually abused.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, in Michigan there are roughly 10,000 children in the foster care system. The goal of Michigan’s foster care system is to reunite the child or children with their parents. Parents are expected to use that time away from their children to educate themselves, get treatment, and/or create a safe environment for their children to come home to.

One safeguard that Michigan has in place protects young girls from continued sexual abuse is parental consent laws.

From the text of the Michigan Parental Consent for Abortion law:

A minor may file a petition for waiver of parental consent in the probate court of the county in which the minor resides. The county in which the minor resides means the county in which the minor’s residence is located or the county in which the minor is found. The probate court will grant a waiver of parental consent if it finds the minor is sufficiently mature and well enough informed to make the decision regarding abortion independently of her parents or legal guardian. The waiver would be in the best interest of the minor if a minor reveals to the probate court that she is the victim of sexual abuse, and that her pregnancy is, or may be, the result of sexual abuse. The probate court will report it to the Department of social services or a law enforcement agency pursuant to the child protection law.

By repealing the parental consent law, legislators would be completely eliminating court oversight, which could potentially put young girls in more danger and allow for sexual abuse to continue. If a foster child reports to the probate court, the probate court is required to report the case to the “Department of social services or a law enforcement agency” where they can protect the child by removing her from the home of the foster care.

Michigan legislators have been slowly hinting at repealing the Parental Consent for Abortion Law since the beginning of the year. Now is the time to inform your family, friends, and community to let them know how dangerous this is for children and parents. You can also get involved by contacting your representative or senator to voice your concerns about a potential repeal. Elections have consequences.

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