Did Parental Notification in New Hampshire Lower the Teen ‘Birth’ Rate?

by Steve MacDonald

Teenage birth rates - NH has lowest in the nationAny moment now the Nashua Telegraph or the Concord Monitor will publish an article based on the most recent survey released by the United Health Foundation. (I mentioned it recently here.)  While I do not expect the local media to explore the point in that particualr piece–that you can spend far less in health care and consistently rank in the top three for healthiest states–they will find a few column inches to obsess over this one.

New Hampshire ranked number one in lowest teen pregnancies.

I’ve observed this cultural Granite State statistic in the past (see here, and here),  where my primary concern has always been the lack of data on abortions including chemical abortions using day after pills.  Compound that in past years where no parental notification laws were in place and the shadow extended even further.  Teen pregnancy rates could have been low as a result of abortions and there was no data either way to clear that up.

This year we are in almost the exact same place.  New Hampshire ranks number one with the lowest rate of teen pregnancy in the nation, we still don’t have any good data on abortions or abortificents,  but this year something is different.

This year New Hampshire has had a parental notification law throughout all of 2012,  and the survey rate is lower this year than in any year on record for this report.

NH 2012 Teen birth rate lowest ever


The 2012 score was 15.7.  The lowest previous score was 17.9 in 2008. It rose in 2009 and 2010 but dropped again in 2011 and dropped significantly in this past years 2012 reporting.

While we still cannot comment on whether abortion (in whatever form) can account for this decrease or any other (birth rates are calculated on actual births), we can say that parental notification–in its first full year– has not had any negative effect on these numbers.

Did parental notification have something to do with the improvement?  It looks like it but I really can’t say.  I can, however, tell you what Democrat Governor Elect Maggie Hassan thinks.  (Hassan helped overturn the old notification requirement as a state senator and opposed the new one.)

Hassan is equally opposed to the parental notification law, which requires minor girls to seek a judge’s permission to have an abortion if they cannot tell a parent or guardian. Telling an aunt or grandparent does not satisfy the law.

Hassan said she recognizes that parents, herself included, hope their daughters will come to them if they have an unwanted or unanticipated pregnancy. But what about the girls who can’t do that, she said.

“We know that parental notification laws tend to cause young women and girls to make decisions that are dangerous for their health rather than seek out proper medical treatment and adult counseling,” Hassan said. “I don’t think they make young girls safe.”

I wonder what dangerous decisions resulted in this precipitous drop in reported births?  Abstinence- Gasp! (To a Democrat like Hassan that would be a dangerous decision!).  Maybe it was abstinence, or more a more conscientious application of contraceptives, or just fear of getting pregnant and having knowing your parents might have to find out.

And trust me, if there was even one teenage girl who had made even reported a dream in which she considered making a “dangerous decision™” as a result of passing Parental notification, Hassan and the party of death would have Sandra Fluke’d her into the political spot light before the election.   And while there is no guarantee they still wont try to find someone should the need arise–in their quest to undo the requirement, I can tell you this with a great degree of certainty–you wont see Hassan, Democrats, the Nashua Telegraph, the Concord Monitor, or any other left-media outlet (new or old) talking about any potential relationship between passing parental notification and the lowest live birth rates for teenage girls in New Hampshire since they started keeping track.  (And all while ranking 36th in the nation for health spending…can you believe that?)

It is good news.  Let’s wait and see how the fish-wrapper media decides to spin it.  I’m sure 2012 had nothing to do with it.


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