By RILEY SNYDER
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) _ Nevada lawmakers are considering a hot-button measure that would make the state the 39th to require parents to be notified before their child gets an abortion.
Republican Assemblyman Ira Hansen presented AB405 during a packed and passionate hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Monday.
Hansen, who helped revive the bill from legislative purgatory in April, said he wanted to add consistency to the state’s laws regarding parental notification.
“Even to get something as simple as aspirin in school requires parental notification,” he said. “This is in no way an attempt to try and stop abortion. This is simply notification.”
The bill would require physicians to send a written notification to parents or guardians of a minor seeking an abortion and requires a 48-hour wait time before the procedure. Girls could seek an exception through the courts.
Health and Human Services Committee chair Sen. Joe Hardy said he supports the concept but wouldn’t bring the bill up for a floor vote until he was sure that it had enough support to successfully pass through the Senate. The measure was stuck in legislative limbo until last week, when it was referred out of a finance committee and given a hearing.
The hearing drew scores of religious and progressive activists split on the concept of requiring doctors to notify parents if their daughter undergoes an abortion.
Supporters said that parents have a right to know if their daughter undergoes medical procedures like abortions, but Democrats opposing the measure said it could drive girls to desperate lengths to hide their abortion.
Democratic Sen. Pat Spearman said she didn’t understand the argument that the state should require notification, and said it could lead to potentially devastating consequences for teenagers in abusive family relationships.
“What is it about the law that we have that stops them from telling a parent?” she asked.
Passing the bill would make Nevada the 39th state to require either parental consent or notification before a minor receives an abortion, according to a May 2015 report by the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute. Parental notification is required in 12 other states, according to the report.
Nevada doctors performed slightly more than 6,000 abortions in 2013, according to information collected by the state’s health department
Hansen said the bill’s continual movement through the Legislature was due to continual support from activists, who’ve held rallies and lobbied legislators to move the bill forward.
“This is true grassroots political involvement,” he said. “Even those who are ardently opposed to the bill have to admit it has overwhelming public support.”