-- A proposal that would have required pregnant minors seeking permission
from a judge to have an abortion to at least attempt to notify their parents
first was heavily amended Tuesday to instead give a judge discretion in
deciding whether parents should be notified.
minors to have parental consent for an abortion, but allows minors unable or
unwilling to involve a parent or guardian to ask a judge for permission for
the procedure without parental notification. Republican Sen. Erin Houchin’s
measure, which would have been the first law of its kind, would have
drastically altered that legal option by mandating parents be served legal
notice and provided a chance to object to the abortion in court.
argued the bill would be found unconstitutional if enacted because it
removed the confidentiality component of the judicial bypass procedure.
approved by a House panel Tuesday removed that provision, replacing it with
language requiring a judge to determine whether parental notification before
the abortion is in the child’s best interest. If the judge decides parents
should know, they would be notified before their child’s abortion procedure
but after the child was granted the waiver for an abortion. The bill no
longer requires parents have a chance to present their opposition to the
abortion in a judicial hearing.
“The parents will
eventually have to deal with the aftermath, whether it’s physical and
medical, whether it’s emotional support,” Republican Rep. Peggy Mayfield,
the House sponsor of the bill, told the Associated Press. “It doesn’t leave
them in the dark about what’s going on with (their) daughter.”
Even with the
changes, the bill could have constitutional problems, said Ken Falk of the
ACLU of Indiana.
additional hurdle on a young person facing an unfamiliar, scary,
time-constrained proceeding seems to be very close to the undue burden the
Supreme Court says cannot be placed on a woman getting an abortion,” Falk
The Supreme Court
has ruled the bypass procedure must be done very quickly, he said, but it’s
unclear if that would be taken into consideration if a court concludes
notice must be given to parents. Additionally, he said has lingering
concerns over provisions allowing parents to pursue civil damages against
someone who helps their child in pursuing an abortion.
Indiana Right to
Life said the bill, even as amended, increases parental rights.
“Parents have a
valid interest in their minor daughter’s health and wellbeing and they
deserve the additional provisions afforded to them” in the bill, the
anti-abortion organization’s vice president of public affairs, Sue Swayze
Liebel, wrote in a statement.
The panel advanced
Houchin’s amended proposal on an 8-4 party-line vote, sending it to the
House for consideration.
approved Tuesday incorporate provisions from a separate bill by Republican
Rep. Ron Bacon that a committee chairman announced Monday would not receive
from his bill address abortion clinic licensure, reporting deadlines and sex
trafficking training. Lawmakers did not add the most contentious part of
Bacon’s measure -- requiring abortion providers to give women considering
drug-induced abortions a form containing information of the potential to
stop their procedure after taking the first of two drugs, including a
disclaimer that no medical studies confirm it is possible.
House Public Policy
Chairman Ben Smaltz has said he doesn’t intend to include that provision in
any bill before his committee.