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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Mother loses 'right to know' case
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¬†Christian groups across the UK have all expressed grave concern over the news today that a mother has lost her court battle for a parent's 'right to know' if an under-age daughter is being advised on abortion. Sue Axon from Baguley, Manchester, who has two teenaged daughters, wanted the law changed to prevent girls under 16 getting confidential advice. Mrs Axon said she regretted having an abortion 20 years ago that caused her "guilt, shame and depression". She brought the case on the grounds this approach "undermined" her role as a parent, and infringed upon her parental rights. But in his judgement, Mr Justice Silber ruled against Mrs Axon, stating a parent had no right to know unless the child decided otherwise. The director of Right to Life, Phyllis Bowman said: 'This decision will have serious implications for both parents and children throughout the country. By upholding the status quo, this decision continues the Government's disastrous Teenage Sexual Health Strategy, which has led to record-high levels of both teenage pregnancies, as well as sexually transmitted infections on a continuous rise. The fact that in between the original Gillick ruling in the Court of Appeal (which established that parents DID have the right to know about abortion- and contraception-related advice being given to their children below the age of sixteen), teenage pregnancies actually went down, makes a nonsense of the argument that parental awareness would jeopardise the sexual health of young people. "Not only has this decision risked the long-term sexual health of young people, but it has also effectively given the green light for (often untrained) individuals to pressurise vulnerable girls into a potentially harmful procedure. "It is ridiculous that a parent's full knowledge and consent must be sought in all other medical procedures concerning the child, such as having a tooth removed, but in one as hazardous and the effects can be as long-term as an abortion, the parent's rights and views are so easily disregarded. Will these "professionals" be there to help the child through the post-abortion experience, which Mrs Axon has described as "guilt, shame and depression"? Unlikely, as most girls will still turn to their parents, the very people that this ruling has cut out of the decision. "RTL laments this decision, which will prove devastating for young people and their parents. We commend Mrs Axon in her brave fight, and hope that she will decide to take this to the European Court, where hopefully a more considered verdict might be reached." The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said today that parents will be "confused and angry" at the judgement. Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, commented: "Abortion, as well as killing an unborn child, can have long-term physical, social and psychological effects on young women ≠ and this is acknowledged and emphasised by the judge. We believe that the judgement was right to stress these health risks, as well as acknowledging the social, moral, religious and cultural issues at stake. "However, abortions and abortion-inducing drugs are routinely provided for under-16 year-olds by the Department of Health, flouting the 1985 legal guidelines on provision of contraception and abortion to under-16s that the judge said were valid and of great importance. "The judgement is written in the assumption that the guidelines are widely known and carefully observed. In effect the judge pays lip-service to the 1985 rules, while ignoring the contempt in which they are held by health officials. "The demands from the pro-abortion lobby that it should be allowed to provide young teenagers with abortions secretly (keeping GPs as well as parents in the dark) shows how brazen it has become. Mr Silber's judgement will encourage the pro-abortion lobby to become more vehement in its demands. Mr Silber's inclusion of contentious statements, such as the claim that a "right to abortion" exists in English law, is disturbing. It suggests that his thinking is dominated by those who campaign to create such a right by asserting that it already exists, and ignores Parliament's decision in 1967 to legalise abortion only in specific situations, primarily of risk to the life or health of the pregnant woman. Julia Millington of the ProLife Alliance said: "'UK law does not allow a teacher to provide a paracetamol without parental consent nor does it allow under-16's to buy cigarettes, alcohol or fireworks. Parental consent is required for under-16's to have their ears pierced and parents can be prosecuted if their child plays truant. "Yet a young girl can make the decision to end the life of another human being without her parents knowing anything about it. The contradictions are staggering,' said . 'It is frightening that the law in this area is framed to set, what should be, the exception as the rule. "The case of Melissa Smith highlights the very real dangers of excluding parents from fulfilling their proper role as the primary caretakers of their children. Melissa, having made the decision to abort without her parents knowledge, changed her mind halfway through the procedure by which time it was too late.'" Andrea Minichiello Williams, from the Lawyers' Christian fellowship, said: "Only if abortions were risk-free could it be argued that parents need not be informed. There is, however, sufficient evidence to show that abortion in young girls is associated with increased mortality, increased suicide rates, a large number of potential very severe/life threatening immediate medical complications as well as long-term consequences affecting subsequent pregnancies, for example increased risk of premature birth (with all the very serious complications prematurity involves) ectopic pregnancy, and others. In addition the prospect of an abortion presents a highly charged moral and conscience decision for a child in which the parents have a right to be properly involved."
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