USA – “Parental Involvement” Mandates for Abortion Harm Young People, But Policymakers Can Fight Back

“Parental Involvement” Mandates for Abortion Harm Young People, But Policymakers Can Fight Back

Sophia Naide, Guttmacher Institute
First published online: February 19, 2020

Young people deserve access to the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion care. Yet, states have long imposed special barriers by forcing minors to involve their parents in their decision to have an abortion. These parental involvement mandates are unnecessary, deny young people’s bodily autonomy, and can add logistical and financial burdens to abortion care.

States are increasingly looking to young people’s access as they move in diverging directions on abortion rights. In 2020 so far, new parental involvement mandates have been introduced in three states, while bills to repeal existing requirements have been introduced in four states. States should repeal these requirements as one step toward a commitment to reproductive rights that centers the needs of marginalized groups.


What It’s Like to Get an Abortion in Florida

What It’s Like to Get an Abortion in Florida
Florida already makes minors to tell a parent if they're having an abortion. Now lawmakers want to require the parent to come to the clinic with them. Here's one 17-year-old's story.

by Paige Alexandria
Feb 6, 2020

Republican lawmakers in Florida tried and failed to pass a bill in 2019 that would have banned abortion at six weeks. In fact, in the last six years, lawmakers in the state have made more than 50 attempts to limit abortion access, including a ban on a common second-trimester procedure and imposing a 24-hour waiting period for all abortions.

Another bill proposed recently would change the state’s parental involvement law for minors from requiring notification to mandating parental consent. Over half of U.S. states have parental involvement laws. Currently, a minor’s legal guardian or parent must be notified 48 hours before the abortion. But SB 404 would require a parent or guardian to accompany the young person to the clinic on the day of the abortion and provide a government-issued ID along with notarized, written consent. It isn’t the first time lawmakers have tried to pass a law like this, and it’s already been proven that parental involvement laws delay care—which is exactly the intent.


USA – Judges Are Denying Teen Abortions for Their Own Moral Reasons

Judges Are Denying Teen Abortions for Their Own Moral Reasons
In 37 states, an underage person seeking an abortion without their guardians' approval has to go to court, where a judge may refuse their case based on personal belief.

by Julia Ries
Jan 16 2020

According to new research, up to 13 percent of all teens seeking to get legal approval for an abortion without their parent’s involvement or consent are getting denied by judges in Texas, up from a mere 2.8 percent only a few years before. The study published in the American Journal of Public Health on Thursday is the first research to look at how often judges deny teens’ petitions for abortion, and mostly due to the judges’ personal and political opinions and not the actual merits of the cases, like if the procedure is medically recommended.

Thirty-seven states currently require pregnant minors to get the green light from one or both parents before receiving an abortion. It’s estimated that, depending on the state, anywhere from two percent to 23 percent of teens seeking an abortion pursue it via judicial bypass, which dates back to a 1979 U.S. Supreme Court decision which ruled that parents do not have an "absolute veto” over a child’s abortion.


The Invisible Hand of Justice Stevens on Abortion

The Invisible Hand of Justice Stevens on Abortion
He was a leading if often unseen strategist who helped protect a woman’s right to choose.

By Linda Greenhouse
July 20, 2019

During the days following the death last Tuesday of Justice John Paul Stevens, admirers posted lists of their favorite and not-so-favorite Stevens opinions. Free speech on the internet? A great one. No First Amendment protection for burning an American flag? Not so great. Access to federal court for Guantánamo detainees? Definitely. Upholding an Indiana voter ID requirement? Hmm …

Items on these lists, posted on blogs and websites, ranged widely. Missing, however, were opinions dealing with abortion. That’s surprising, since Justice Stevens wrote opinions in many of the abortion cases that came before the court during his 35-year tenure.