State Attorney General Rob McKenna, who announced his 2012 bid to wear the governor's pants, reaffirmed his support for parental notification in cases of teenage abortions yesterday in a conversation with KUOW.org. Washington is one of only 10 states that doesn't require parental notification.
McKenna did concede that Washington voters support a woman's "basic right to choose," but added:
"I'm like a lot of parents," McKenna said. "When your daughter turns 13 and the mom is kicked out of the examining room for anything related to reproductive health it's troubling for a lot of parents."
Here's the problem: Not all teenagers have trustworthy, loving parents who will support their decisions—including their "right to choose."
Some teenagers come from abusive homes. Some teenagers are the victims of incest. Some teenagers simply fear telling their parents they're pregnant. Regardless of the reason, these teens will feel trapped. And instead of having local access to professional medical care, they'll feel compelled to travel to Oregon, which doesn't have a parental notification law in place (voters rejected an initiative calling for one in 2007). Or they'll do something illegal or harmful, like attempting a self-induced abortion.
And it's worth noting that McKenna is still actively fighting the Affordable Care Act, which will, among other things, protect women against gender discrimination by private insurers and give 100,000 Washington women improved access to family planning services, cervical and breast cancer screenings, and contraception.
“The office of Governor has a huge impact on women’s access to health care,” said Dana Laurent, Political Director for Planned Parenthood Votes Washington, in a press release. “As an advocate for women and families of Washington State, we intend to ask all the candidates what they will do to ensure women’s health and rights are protected.”