There should be no precise age limits for abortion. In countries such as Canada, the “mature minor” doctrine means that doctors are given the discretion to ensure that minors are mature enough to make their own decision, and are not being coerced by anyone. In other countries, abortion can be provided to girls under the age of 16 without parental consent, but with informed consent of the patient.
In Austrian law, only minors under 14 years of age need the approval of a parent or legal guardian. The law stipulates that for a woman aged 14 – 18, only she herself can consent to a medical treatment, provided she has the ability to understand the procedure and make a decision. If there is doubt as to her ability, it will be assumed that she is able to understand and decide. If the minor lacks the ability to understand and decide on a treatment, the approval of a parent or legal guardian is required.
In the U.S., 37 states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. These laws simply place cruel and unnecessary obstacles in their path, and can create risks to their health and life. Teenagers with a difficult or abusive home life may not be safe if they inform their parents. Also, it means that parents could unethically force a teenager to have a baby against her will, thereby compromising her health and her future.
Abortion Legislation in Europe
Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, Injustice and Harms of Parental Consent Laws for Abortion (2014)
Guttmacher Institute – Parental involvement in minors’ abortions (2017)