by Steven Ertelt
February 2, 2005
Little Rock, AR (LifeNews.com) — Under legislation approved by a House panel Tuesday, teenagers would need consent from a parent or legal guardian prior to having an abortion. The measure strengthens the state’s parental notification law and is an attempt to further reduce the number of teen abortions.
The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee approved Rep. Jeremy Hutchinson’s bill on a voice vote with only one member dissenting.
House Bill 1033 now heads to the full House for consideration and will then move on to the state Senate if approved.
Hutchinson said such laws approve constitutional muster and have been validated by the Supreme Court.
"This is a common sense bill," Hutchinson said, according to an Arkansas News report, adding that teenagers need parental permission for a number of other requests such as field trips and other medical services.
The parent or guardian must provide identification and the signature must either be notarized or the consent form must be signed in the presence of the abortion practitioner. The goal is to ensure that abortion advocates do not use other adults to provide fake signatures authorizing abortions.
The bill contains an exception for girls who are in abusive situations and allows a judge to consider an abortion request in such cases.
Governor Mike Huckabee has endorsed the legislation.
"This proposal will be part of the governor’s package and will have his full support," said spokesman Rex Nelson last month.
Huckabee supported a 2003 version of the bill that passed in the state House and Senate before dying in a legislative committee responsible for reconciling the versions passed by each chamber.
Rita Sklar of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Arkansas affiliate opposed the bill saying she believes most families already discuss these issues.
Jerry Edwards of Little Rock Family Planning Services, the state’s only abortion business, also opposed the bill.
According to the state Department of Health, 483 teenage girls had abortions in 2003, the latest year for which figures are available.
Related web sites:
Arkansas Right to Life – https://www.artl.org