Michigan Bill to Tighten Parental Consent Law Expected In Fall
by Steven Ertelt
July 31, 2003
L:ansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — A Michigan parental consent law was supposed to increase parental involvement and reduce the number of teen abortions. Yet abortion advocates have found a way to legally circumvent it by abusing the judicial bypass option.
The Supreme Court has mandated parental involvement laws must include an alternative for girls who come from abusive home situations. In such cases, girls can seek a waiver from a judge allowing the abortion without parental consent.
However, abortion facilities have hired attorneys to go "judge shopping" in surrounding counties to find a local judge who will approve the abortion.
According to state figures, in 79 percent of the 628 cases last year the teen’s abortion is granted. A 2001 partial state survey by the Supreme Court found more than 90 percent of waiver requests are granted.
"In many instances, the judicial bypass system has become a rubber-stamp process," Kristen Hemker of Right to Life of Michigan told LifeNews.com.
The bill would define standards for when an abortion could be requested without parental consent, allow the judge to appoint an attorney as a parental advocate, and prohibit minors from petitioning another county court if the first court denies their request.
It would also requires judges to determine whether the girl knows about abortion alternatives and require the waiver request to be filed in a county where at least one parent resides.
Rep. William O’Neil, D-Allen Park, introduced the proposed legislation after he said Wayne County judges told him abortion advocates look for pro-abortion judges and funnel their waiver requests through them.
The law passed the Michigan House 73-25 on June 24 and will likely go before the Senate this fall.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm opposes the bill. Should the Senate pass it and Granholm veto the bill, that will likely set up a veto override battle.
"Undoubtedly this bill to enhance and protect parents rights will
pass," Ed Rivet, Right to Life of Michigan’s legislative director, tells LifeNews.com. "Whether Governor Granholm will reflect an extreme pro-abortion viewpoint by vetoing it is the question at hand. We will be fervently urging the governor to represent the vast majority of Michigan citizens who respect parents’ rights."
Rivet believes an override vote can be won in the House. The Senate will be a much closer contest.
Although the law needs improvement, it has been responsible for reducing teen abortions.
"According to statistics from the Michigan Department of Community Health, the number of abortions performed on minors has been cut by over 55% and the number of teenagers giving birth has decreased by over 49% since passage of Michigan’s parental
consent law in 1990," Hemker said.
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