Idaho Parental Consent on Abortion Law Struck Down by Court

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 1, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Idaho Parental Consent on Abortion Law Struck Down by Court Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 1, 2005

Boise, ID ( — Idaho’s third attempt to protect the right of parents to be involved in their teenage daughter’s decision to have an abortion was struck down Friday.

The state legislature overwhelmingly approved legislation that requires parents to approve before an abortion facility can perform an abortion on a teenager in the state, but a court said it was unconstitutional.

Abortion advocates said they were delighted with the court’s decision.

"We are thrilled with today’s decision," said Marty Durand, Legislative Counsel of the ACLU of Idaho. "One can only hope that after three court decisions, the legislature will take the hint and stop passing laws that jeopardize young women’s health and safety."

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in March that it would not reinstate a previous parental consent law. As a result of that decision, the Idaho state legislature approved a replacement statute that addressed the court’ concerns.

Attorneys for the abortion advocates claim the newer version of the law still has problems — that it violates confidentiality of teens who supposedly need emergency abortions and that the waiver process for teens in abusive home situations seeking abortions is not properly spelled out.

Agreeing with Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, which took the low to court on behalf of local abortion businesses, the court ruled the law’s "chilling effect could be substantial enough to cause the mature minor to forego the emergency procedure even if it threatened her life."

Idaho Chooses Life executive director David Ripley says "Idaho girls need their parents and legal protection in confronting the most important decision of their lives."

The case is Planned Parenthood of Idaho v. Wasden.

Some 738 abortions were performed in Idaho in 2001, a drop from 1980, the state’s high point, when 2,553 were done.

Twenty-two other states have parental consent laws on the books and they are in effect in 17 of them. Twelve other states have parental notification laws in place. The Supreme Court and other courts have typically upheld parental involvement statutes.