A crossbench Peer has called for the Government to introduce a law requiring parents to be informed if their child has an abortion.
During a recent episode of Coronation Street, 14-year-old Amy Barlow had an abortion without her parents’ knowledge.
Viewers expressed their shock that it is legal for under-16s to do so, believing they must surely need parental consent.
‘It’s time for a parental notification law’
The law states that if an under-16 is able to provide clear consent, they can have an abortion without telling their parents.
Lord Alton of Liverpool called on Westminster to close this loophole in the law.
He said: “As a parent myself, I can understand why parents around the country have been shocked to learn that their child can be taken away to an abortion clinic for a secret abortion without parents being involved.
“Polling shows a large majority of parents want a law change on this. It’s now time for Parliament to begin steps to introduce a parental notification law that will ensure that parents are involved in what can be one of the biggest decisions of their child’s lives.”
Right To Life UK spokesperson Clare McCarthy echoed Lord Alton’s sentiment
She said: “The secret abortion plotline has served to raise public concern in relation to the safety of a young 14-year-old schoolgirl in the hands of the abortion industry and her ability to consent.
“The abortion industry cannot be trusted to take the place of parents to know what is in the best interests of their child.”
She added that Care Quality Commission reports on Marie Stopes International in 2017 showed abortion facilities have “a vested interest in girls undergoing abortions”.
McCarthy continued: “Coronation Street viewers were left rightly shocked at this unbelievable reality in the UK which highlights the lack of legal protections in place to protect vulnerable girls under the age of consent”.
An audit carried out by Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 2016 found “examples of children aged 12 receiving contraception without a referral being made” on safeguarding grounds.
And a 2015 review of failures to protect children in Oxfordshire recommended that, “Relevant government departments should consider the impact of current guidance on consent”.