HB 964 Public Health - Abortions Sought by Minors - Parent or Guardian Consent

Committee: House Health and Government Operations

Position: SUPPORT

The Maryland Catholic Conference offers this supporting testimony for House Bill 964. The Catholic Conference (“Conference”) represents the public policy interests of the three (arch) dioceses serving Maryland, the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders. 

House Bill 964 aims to protect life by requiring a parent or guardian be involved in a minor’s abortion decision. Pregnancy, planned or unplanned, can be a time of uncertainty and anxiousness for anyone – and the state has an obligation to protect its most vulnerable citizens in their time of need. 

Article 20-103 of the Maryland Annotated Code requires that one parent or guardian be notified before a minor has an abortion. The parent or guardian does not need to consent or agree with the minor’s choice, but does need to know the minor is planning to have an abortion.

Thirty-eight states require some parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. Thirty-seven of these states, however, include a judicial bypass procedure to circumvent parental input. In addition, six states permit a minor to obtain an abortion if a grandparent or other adult relative is involved in the decision; and 35 permit it in a medical emergency. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also maintains that: “Adolescents who are willing to involve parents in their abortion decisions will likely benefit from adult experience, wisdom, and support.” (American Journal of Pediatrics. Parental Involvement and Consent for Minors. (May 2016).

For these reasons, the Conference urges a favorable report on House Bill 964.