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Padden: Taking Issue Seriously

Thu., March 16, 1995

It’s been a long time coming, but Rep. Mike Padden, R-Spokane, says he’s glad lawmakers are taking abortion seriously again.

“I’m pleased that the House was willing to show the fortitude to address the issue,” Padden said of Wednesday’s vote in favor of House Bill 1523. The legislation requires doctors to notify parents of their minor child’s decision to seek an abortion 48 hours in advance.

Padden served as the GOP’s point man during the heated debate over the proposal, rising again and again to defend it against attacks by members of both parties.

Now in his 15th year as a legislator, Padden is one of the few lawmakers who was around the last time a paren tal notification bill passed the House, more than a decade ago. The bill was killed by the Senate then, and history looks like it will repeat itself this year.

Regardless of the outcome, Padden called Wednesday’s House vote a “step forward” in his struggle to ensure parents are included in abortion decisions. He said the parental notification bill has some support in the Senate this year, but powerful committee chairmen are likely to kill it without allowing a vote of the full body.

“I just think this is a very logical thing, whether somebody has a prolife or a pro-choice position,” Padden said.

He said abortion can be an extremely disturbing experience for young women, leading to depression and even suicide.

Minnesota, which has a parental notification law, has seen a reduction in the number of teen abortions and teen pregnancies, Padden said.

While the bill’s prospects are dim this year, he said the proposal might be back before lawmakers. “It could happen after the ‘96 elections.”

Another bill supported by Padden this year would have required women seeking abortions to receive information about its risks and consider alternatives such as adoption.

Critics said women already are given plenty of information and called the measure a thinly veiled attempt to talk more women out of abortions.

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