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Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Ind. Gov't. - Abortion bill that "completely undermines" judicial bypass passes Senate

Niki Kelly reports today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

An abortion bill [SB 404] that requires parents to be notified when their daughter pursues an abortion without their consent cleared the Indiana Senate on Tuesday.

“This is a bill about parental rights,” said Sen. Erin Houchin, R-Salem. “When speaking of abortions under these circumstances, these are not women seeking abortions. These are children seeking abortions.”

Indiana law currently requires girls under 18 to get permission from at least one parent before an abortion. But if they can’t or don’t want to, they can file a petition for a judicial bypass, in which a judge considers whether the girl is mature enough to make the decision on her own. Parents are not notified in these cases now.

Under the bill, parental notification could come in a variety of ways – giving the petition to the parent or legal guardian; leaving it at their home; sending it by certified mail; or running an ad in the newspaper.

Sen. Karen Tallian, D-LaPorte, said there are some situations in which notifying parents is not a good thing – such as if a girl is afraid she will be physically harmed by a parent for getting pregnant.

“The point of the judicial bypass is that she doesn’t want her parents to know for some good reason,” she said. “The bill completely undermines that.”

In 2015, fewer than 250 girls under the age of 18 had abortions in the state. According to testimony in committee, about 20 girls use the judicial bypass procedure annually.

Here are some other things the bill does:

• Requires an adult who gives consent for a girl’s abortion to prove to the abortion provider that he or she is the parent or legal guardian through birth records, court orders and identification.

• Requires a judge in bypass cases to use a higher burden of proof – clear and convincing evidence the girl is mature enough – before waiving the requirement of parental consent.

• Creates a right for parents of a minor to sue another adult, not immediate family, who “aids or assists” a minor in obtaining an unlawful abortion.

Four Republicans voted against the measure, including Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange. House Speaker Brian Bosma has already said the bill will likely get a hearing.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 1, 2017 09:10 AM
Posted to Indiana Government