Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznare
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, March 3, 2017

Abortion bill targets parents' rights in cases of pregnant minors

From The Indianapolis Star:

When a pregnant minor seeks an abortion in Indiana without her parents' consent, she has one option: a hearing involving her attorney and a juvenile court judge who decides whether she is mature enough to make the decision for herself.

A bill that advanced in the Indiana Senate on Wednesday would give her parents the right to enter the courtroom and even testify on whether she is competent to make the decision.

Supporters of Senate Bill 404 say parents should have a role in deciding their daughter's well-being and whether she can undergo a surgical procedure such as an abortion. Opponents say requiring parent involvement could push pregnant minors into dangerous situations because their greatest fear is often being disowned by their families.

The bill also would give parents the right to sue adults who help their child get an abortion without their consent. And it opens up abortion doctors to potentially losing their medical licenses if they fail to properly inform the state when they provide an abortion to a girl younger than 16.

The bill, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 6-4 vote, is the latest front in the bitter battle over abortion rights in Indiana. It drew support from a constellation of groups opposed to abortion — Indiana Right to Life, the Indiana Catholic Conference, the Indiana Family Institute and the American Family Association of Indiana. It was opposed by Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, family law attorneys, a pediatrician and a doctor of adolescent medicine.

The scope of the war is evident in the language of the bill. Corrine Purvis, an attorney with Indiana Right to Life, said passages were adapted from a law in Missouri. Other provisions have been adopted by as many as 15 states.

Read more here.

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