Indiana Judge Temporarily Blocks Law Requiring Parental Notification for Minors Obtaining Abortions

Lauretta  Brown
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Posted: Jun 30, 2017 2:30 PM
Indiana Judge Temporarily Blocks Law Requiring Parental Notification for Minors Obtaining Abortions

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) and the ACLU were granted a preliminary injunction Wednesday blocking provisions of a parental notification law requiring a minor’s parents to be notified that she is seeking an abortion. The law requires parental notification even if the minor petitions a court to waive parental consent, unless the judge in the case decides that notification is not in the minor’s best interests. Current Indiana law requires that the minor either obtain parental consent or petition to waive that consent.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of PPINK in May, claiming that the act "imposes new burdens on a young woman's access to abortion and on her health care providers, in violation of often reaffirmed constitutional rights."

Judge Sarah Evan Barker wrote in her opinion that “the mature minor as the individual who bears the full consequences of the ultimate decision is entitled to an opportunity to proceed without state-mandated interference from her parents. Because (Senate Enrolled Act) 404 offers no such opportunity, it places an unjustifiable burden on mature minors in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment."

The ACLU called the ruling Thursday "a victory for women and another rebuke of politicians who insist on putting their own agenda ahead of women's health and safety."

"Judge Sarah Evans Barker's ruling is an affirmation of abortion rights in Indiana," Betty Cockrum, President and CEO of PPINK said. "PPINK encourages teenagers to have open and honest conversations with their family members, but we recognize that not every teen is able to do so safely.”

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill issued a statement criticizing the Judge’s injunction Thursday saying it “essentially encourages a minor to go it alone through the emotionally and physically overwhelming procedure of aborting a human being.”

“The challenge of this law is nothing more than an attempt to give courts rather than parents the legal guardianship of children,” he said. “When an unemancipated minor undergoes even the most basic medical procedures, the involvement of a parent or legal guardian is typically required. However, for the time being, Wednesday’s injunction essentially encourages a minor to go it alone through the emotionally and physically overwhelming procedure of aborting a human being. We will always support the authority of parents to know what is going on with their children and continue to defend Hoosier parents.”

The attorney general’s office will have a month to decide if it will appeal the injunction.

Mike Fichter, Indiana Right to Life president and CEO, said of the injunction, “Hoosiers are tired of seeing activist judges legislate abortion from the bench. Planned Parenthood runs straight to the courts anytime they find a law they don’t like. Planned Parenthood is not winning in the court of public opinion and their clients are leaving them in droves, but they can always count on the judicial branch to hand them a victory.”

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said before signing the legislation in April that he sees it “as a parental rights issue and responsibility and common sense."

Currently 37 states have parental consent or notification laws for minors obtaining abortions.