INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Pregnant minors would be unable to obtain an abortion without at least
attempting to notify their parents under a measure that cleared the Indiana
first-of-its-kind abortion measure would drastically change the state’s
existing judicial waiver process, which allows someone under the age of 18
to pursue an abortion procedure with permission from the court system
without notifying a parent or guardian. It instead mandates that parents be
served legal notice and have the opportunity to object in court - a move
that supporters argue would strengthen parental rights.
including some Republicans, say allowing minors to have abortions without
involving their parents is the entire point.
In some cases, they
argue, the pregnancy is a result of incest or rape. In others, minors could
face physical harm if their parents were informed about the pregnancy.
essentially and fundamentally going through, around and getting rid of the
whole point of judicial bypass,” said Democratic Sen. Karen Tallian. “It
puts the parents back into the mix, when the whole purpose of the bypass was
to keep them out of the mix.”
The measure cleared
the Senate 36-13 Tuesday, with four Republicans joining Democrats in
opposing it. It now moves to the House for consideration.
Erin Houchin, the author, contends her proposal protects the judge’s ability
to make a determination on the minor’s petition and would not give parents
There’s nothing in
statute that prohibits them from being notified a hearing is occurring, she
said, and their presentation of evidence could give the judge more
information to aid his decision.
As written now,
notice would have to be served to a parent before a juvenile court hearing
could occur. That notice could include registered or certified mail or other
public means - like an advertisement placed in a newspaper.
The juvenile court
could consider a petition after that notice is served, which would include
an evidentiary hearing where parents could make arguments.
The bill was
amended for clarification after it cleared a legislative panel last week,
where some were confused about whether the notification would even be
possible in the 48 hour timeframe set out in statute for the juvenile court
to issue a ruling. The 48 hours would not begin until after notice is
The measure would
also give parents a path to legal recourse against individuals who aided
their minor in obtaining an abortion without their consent. It would also
require the people providing consent to prove they are who they claim with
notarized, written consent, proof of identification and documentation
establishing they are the parent, guardian or custodian.
Houchin and other
anti-abortion supporters say the proposal would rightfully involve parents
in a process that could have a lasting effect on their child.
“I’ve heard some
talk that this is a bill about women’s rights. This is a bill about parental
rights,” Houchin said. “These are not women seeking abortions. They are
children seeking abortions.”
Tuesday centered around whether the bill would hold up in court, with some
arguing the Supreme Court has previously agreed with parental involvement
laws only if they include a confidential judicial bypass procedure.
Of the 36 states
that require parental involvement and offer an alternative judicial bypass
procedure for abortions, none mandate notifying parents that the minor is
pursuing a bypass, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research
organization that supports abortion rights.
(parents) to be involved and informed if she tries to get a judicial bypass,
in a clear violation of that confidentiality requirement,” said Democratic
Sen. Jean Breaux. “This is just another affront to a woman’s right - in this
case, a young woman’s right - to choose a legal and safe abortion.”