Life Legal filed a lawsuit yesterday challenging a procedure that allows minors to get around laws requiring parents to provide written consent before their daughters can obtain an abortion.
According to a 1979 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, state parental consent laws must provide for a judicial bypass exception, in which minors “bypass” their parents and go to court to show they are mature enough to make the decision to abort independently of parental involvement. The procedure, like the judicial emancipation of a minor, was intended to be used in rare instances, often involving abusive home situations. But now pro-aborts operate organizations that specialize in helping minor children circumvent parental consent laws and get abortions for any reason whatsoever. These organizations connect minors with attorneys who file the judicial bypass application for them and who represent them in court – all without the parents’ knowledge. The attorneys arrange for girls to appear before judges they know are pro-abortion and who will simply rubber stamp approval for abortion.
We filed our lawsuit on behalf of a mother who did not give consent for her young daughter to have an abortion because of her belief that abortion is the killing of an unborn human being. The mother believed abortion was not in her child’s best interest, as she was concerned about the long-term implications to her child’s health. She had no idea the law would allow her daughter to have an abortion without her permission or knowledge and that her daughter would be guided through the process by other adults who would override her parental rights.
The girl received help in applying for a judicial bypass and – accompanied by two pro-abortion attorneys – was able to get approval for an abortion after a brief interview with a judge. The judge knew nothing about the girl or her medical or emotional history. As is typical for judicial bypass interviews, the entire process took about 15 minutes. Judges are not trained clinicians – how can they determine, solely on the basis of a child’s testimony, whether a minor is mature enough to make a decision with life-long emotional, mental, psychological and physical consequences in less time that it takes to drink a cup of coffee?
In fact, the girl was injured during the abortion. Her mother was not informed by the abortion clinic and only found out later when her daughter asked her to take her to see their family doctor. Minors are not permitted to have their ears pierced or take an aspirin at school without parental consent, yet the law allows them to be hauled off for a surgical procedure without their parents even knowing where they are. And this happens even in states with robust pro-life laws. Thirty-eight states have laws that require either parental notification or consent or both before a child can have a surgical or chemical abortion. All 38 have judicial bypass procedures that erode parental rights and abandon children to strangers.
We are hoping to change that. This case is difficult, and we are not permitted to share details, as it involves a minor. Please pray that we have favor with the court and that the judge allows our case to proceed.