Parental Consent Required For Tattoos in Maryland, But Not For Abortion

The Maryland House of Delegates has unanimously approved a proposal to require "parental consent" for tattoos and body piercings done on minors. However, the state still only requires that one parent be notified that a minor is going to have an abortion, with no need for the parent’s consent.

Republicans in the House tried and failed to amend the "tattoos and body piercing" measure to include parental consent for abortion when Del. Gail H. Bates, a Howard County Republican, asked to have the measure include parental consent for "other invasive surgical procedures."

However, House Speaker Michael E. Busch declined to consider the proposed amendment, arguing that it changed the purpose of the bill and was, therefore, out of order, according to a Baltimore Sun report.

Maryland’s Parental Notification for Abortion Law (Article 20-103) requires that one parent or guardian be notified before a minor has an abortion. The parent/guardian does not need to consent to or agree with the minor’s choice, but does need to know the minor is planning to have an abortion.

Maryland’s parental notification law also says specifically that no notification is required if, in the judgment of the doctor performing the abortion: the minor is mature and capable of giving her informed consent to the procedure, or notification would not be in the minor’s best interest, or notice may lead to physical or emotional abuse of the minor, or the minor patient does not live with her parent or guardian, or a reasonable effort to give notice has been unsuccessful.

Scott Davis of National Pro-Life Radio commented that the Maryland parental notification law is so full of loopholes that it is rendered practically meaningless.

"This gives the abortionist sole and unreviewable discretion in regards to parental rights," Davis explained.

"The physician may perform the abortion, without notice to a parent or guardian of a minor if, in the professional judgment of the physician, notification would not be in the interest of the minor.

"So a teenage girl’s parents could be kept in the dark about an abortion, a medical procedure with grave physical and psychological risks, simply because the abortion provider thinks it’s a good idea."

Davis also pointed out that each year approximately 22.6% of Maryland abortions are performed on girls 16 and under.

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