Idaho Parental Consent for Abortion Law Ruled Unconstitutional

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 21, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Idaho Parental Consent for Abortion Law Ruled Unconstitutional

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
July 21, 2004

Boise, ID ( — Idaho’s parental consent law was ruled unconstitutional on Friday, striking the law passed in 2000 that requires parents to assent before their minor child receives an abortion.

In her opinion, Judge Marsha Berzon said there was no reason for requiring parental consent except in "sudden and unexpected" cases of complications. She cited that other emergency medical procedures are done on minors without parental consent.

The challenge had been filed by Planned Parenthood of Idaho and one of four abortion businesses in the state. Despite having filed the challenge, Rebecca Poedy, executive director of Planned Parenthood of Idaho, claimed most abortions on minors have parental consent.

Pro-life groups expected the decision and are looking to the nation’s highest court to salvage the law.

"We knew that it was unlikely Idaho’s Parental Consent Law would survive the 9th Circuit," said Idaho Chooses Life executive director David Ripley. "Still, it is disappointing to be confronted with the cold, hard liberalism of three Clinton-appointed federal judges."

"Our hopes are pinned to the U.S. Supreme Court," Ripley added. "Given the long record of reversals of the 9th Circuit, we believe there is good reason to be hopeful that Idaho’s Parental Consent Law will be restored by the high court."

The Supreme Court has typical upheld parental involvement statutes.

State Representative Bill Sali (R-Meridian), the bill’s author, agreed with Ripley that the appeals court was expected to strike the law.

"We went into this believing we would lose at the 9th Circuit and hopefully prevail on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court," said Sali.

Michael Journee, spokesman for Gov. Dirk Kempthorne who signed the parental consent bill, told the Associated Press that a review of the ruling has not yet been completed and no immediate plan for an appeal has been made.

"The saddest part of the story is that the appeal will take time," Ripley added. "That means dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Idaho girls will be easy prey for the seduction of Planned Parenthood. Idaho girls need their parents and legal protection in confronting the most important decision of their lives."

Ripley had told before the court’s ruling that he found it "simply unbelievable that Planned Parenthood is seeking to leave girls at the mercy of predators."