Young girls under the age of 16 living in Western Australia (WA) will be able to obtain an abortion without parental permission under proposed measures submitted to state parliament.
Current law there requires a teen under the age of 16, who is still living at home or dependent on a parent or guardian, to notify the parent or guardian if they are considering an abortion. The parent or guardian should also be involved in the conversation between the teen and the doctor. However, the final decision is still in the hands of the minor.
The age of majority in the Australian state is 16.
If the minor wants to have an abortion and does not want to inform her parents, she must apply to the children’s court, Daily Mail mentioned.
WA is currently the only jurisdiction in Australia where teens under the age of 16 are required to meet a higher standard of consent for abortions than for other medical care, according to News 9.
In 1998, Western Australia became the first state or territory in Australia to decriminalize abortion, according to the outlet.
The Abortion Legislation Reform Bill 2023 will change this by recognizing the concept of a mature minor, whereby a young person has sufficient understanding and intelligence to consent to their own medical treatment, Mail mentioned.
Meanwhile, according to the law in Western Australia, a child under the age of 16 needs written consent from a parent or guardian in order to have his or her ears pierced. Likewise, tattooing is illegal for minors under the age of 16 and requires written consent from a parent or guardian if the minor is between 16 and 18 years of age.
“It is baffling that parental consent is required for a child to have their ears pierced, but if this bill passes, the child will be able to have an abortion without their parents knowing,” The right to life in the United Kingdom Company spokeswoman Catherine Robinson said in a statement.
The statement concluded, “This is clearly not true. Legal requirements must reflect the seriousness of the decision. Choosing to end an unborn child’s life is certainly a very serious decision.”