Cortney O'Brien

In most areas of the country, a minor can only have an abortion with her parents’ consent. Yet, of the 38 states that have parental notification laws, 37 offer these young women an alternative route to have the procedure without mom and dad.

Judicial bypass is a legal procedure authorizing a minor to have an abortion without the consent of a parent or guardian. A young woman seeking a bypass begins by filing a petition. Then, she and a lawyer must prove to a judge that her situation meets one of three conditions: 1) She is mature enough to have an abortion without her parents’ knowledge 2) It is not in her best interest for her parents to be notified or 3) Notifying the parent or parents could lead to physical, sexual or emotional abuse. What’s more, to grant the young woman’s request for an abortion, the judge has to find the minor “mature” enough to have the procedure without parental notification.

While the process may seem cumbersome, a recent report from Arizona revealed that these abortion-granting court orders are fairly simple to obtain. Judges approved nearly 75 percent of judicial bypass requests. Jason Walsh, the executive director of Arizona Right to Life, responded to the alarming statistic.

“I’m not surprised at all -- it’s expected with all these judicial loopholes,” Walsh told Townhall. “It shows how easy it is. If there’s a will there’s a way.”

So, why are judges so quick to grant these young women permission to abort? Walsh surmises:

“It’s an ideological focus,” he said. “They believe it concerns only the woman in question.”

This far too common granting of bypasses is not a new trend in our judicial system. A New York Times article from 1987, which followed a minor named Amanda as she sought an abortion without her parents knowing, came to this conclusion:

“The evidence showed that it was easy enough, once in court, to persuade a judge to waive parental notification. Minnesota judges approved Amanda's request and more than 3,500 others between 1981 and 1986, while turning down only nine - one-quarter of one percent.”

Cortney O'Brien

Cortney O'Brien is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow her on Twitter @obrienc2.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography