Parental Notification Act Defeated In Committee

On April 25, 2023, the New York State Senate Women’s Issues Committee considered Bill S.2911-Murray/A.3398-DeStefano, the Parental Notification Act. While Sen. Alexis Weik (R-Sayville) made a motion to report the bill and refer it to the Senate Codes Committee for further consideration, no one, not even Sen. Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick (R-Rockville Centre), seconded that motion. As a result, this pro-life legislation was not approved by the Committee and will not receive further Senate consideration this year.

Current New York law does not provide any mechanism for parental notification or consent when an abortion is performed upon a minor. In other words, an 11-year-old could undergo an abortion in New York and her parents could be left completely in the dark. The Parental Notification Act would require that a parent be notified at least 48 hours before an abortion is performed upon a non-emancipated minor. The legislation would provide exceptions in medical emergencies, in situations where a custodial parent certifies that he or she has received the required notification, and in cases where a minor seeking an abortion has obtained a court order waiving the notice requirement.

The bill memorandum notes that “parents are required by law to give permission when their minor child has a tooth drilled or bone x-rayed, but they do not even have to be notified when their daughter is pregnant and considering the invasive surgery of abortion. Surely, parents have a right to know of a medical decision that could affect their daughter physically and emotionally for the rest of her life.” The bill memorandum also asserts that in Minnesota, a significant decrease in teen pregnancies occurred following the passage of a similar law.

Given the large pro-abortion majority in the New York State Senate, the Women’s Issues Committee was not expected to advance the Parental Notification Act. Nevertheless, the Committee’s action is disappointing. Pro-choice and pro-life policymakers ought to be able to agree that parents must be involved in decisions regarding their children’s health care. The fact that the New York State Legislature cannot reach common ground on this issue only underscores the extremism of the Legislature’s commitment to unfettered abortion access.

Our organization applauds Sen. Dean Murray (R-Patchogue) and Asm. Joe DeStefano (R-Medford) for introducing the legislation. We are also thankful for Sen. Alexis Weik’s efforts to advance the legislation.