by Steven Ertelt
September 8, 2005
Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — A federal court has ruled constitutional a law requiring abortion businesses to obtain consent of a parent before performing an abortion on a minor girl. The law has been put on hold for seven years of litigation after abortion centers took it to court following approval by the state legislature.
Judge Sandra Beckwith wrote the opinion for the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, saying the abortion advocates "[do] not demonstrate that H.B. 421 imposes undue burdens on the abortion right even when viewed in a highly deferential manner."
The undue burden standard is a normal process used by federal courts to determine if abortion laws are constitutional and it has become a common plea by abortion businesses for overturning abortion regulations.
Beckwith asked the U.S. for a clearer standard of what constitutes an undue burden on the so-called right to abortion.
"The need for more clarity is acute because … legislatures will continue to legislate in this area, pro-choice advocates will continue to challenge such legislation, and the federal courts will continue to be caught in the middle," Beckwith wrote.
The law also requires abortion practitioners to provide women contemplating an abortion with information about its risks and alternatives 24 hours prior to performing one. Similar laws in other states have helped thousands of women avoid dangerous abortions and choose an alternative.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit for the Cincinnati Women’s Services abortion facility in 1998 before the law had a chance to take effect.
Carrie Davis, an attorney with the pro-abortion law firm, told the Associated Press she did not know whether an appeal would be filed.
The law is now in effect unless the ACLU appeals and asks for a federal appeals court to place the statute on hold while the lawsuit proceeds.
Ohio law already requires abortion facilities to inform parents about a minor girl seeking an abortion, but does not need to obtain their consent beforehand. State lawmakers hoped to strengthen that law and reduce teen abortions even further.
Pro-life advocates say the current notification law has been abused because judges routinely approve a teen’s abortion using the bypass provision that allows them without notifying parents.