Idaho Senate Committee Votes For Parental Consent Before Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 12, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Idaho Senate Committee Votes For Parental Consent Before Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 12
, 2007

Boise, ID ( — An Idaho state Senate committee approved a bill requiring parents to give their permission before a teenager can have an abortion. This is another attempt to get the state to put the idea on the books since courts have declared previous consent statutes unconstitutional.

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted for the measure 7-2 and it requires the consent of at least one parent before an abortion can be done on a minor. Laws in other states have proven effective in reducing the number of teen abortions.

Sen. Russ Fulcher, a Republican from Meridian who is the lead sponsor, says he has deleted provisions from the bill that have been found unconstitutional and he’s hoped the revised measure will work.

Fulcher told the committee in a previous hearing that he removed provisions that U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled unconstitutional in the legislature’s last attempt to approve the measure.

"We had a number of attorneys who have worked on this over the past year," Fulcher said, according to an AP report. He added that the current proposal is based on an Arizona parental consent law that has withstood court scrutiny.

The new measure includes a judicial bypass provision that courts have said must be a part of parental involvement laws. The bypass allows a teenager to avoid the notification or consent requirement in cases where they are victims of abuse.

Burke Hays, lobbyist for Planned Parenthood, told the committee his group still opposes the bill but admitted that the changes to it address some of the problems in its previous lawsuits.

Deputy attorney general Bill von Tagen previously told the committee that the parental consent measure would likely fare well in court.

"We have the highest degree of confidence in this language that we feel we can have," von Tagen said, according to the AP report.

A new study reported on last week found that laws such as parental notification or consent reduced the abortion rate on teenage girls by more than 50 percent. nat2918.html

Dr. Michael New says that parental involvement laws passed in the 1990s resulted in a "dramatic decrease in the incidence of abortion among minors." In 1985, 13.5 abortions were performed on minors for every 1,000 girls between the ages of 13 and 17. By 1999, the abortion rate for minors had fallen by over 50 percent to 6.5 per 1,000 teen­age girls ages 13 to 17.

Pro-life groups support the proposal and Bryan Fischer, director of the Idaho Values Alliance, told AP, "It’s unconscionable to deprive teenage girls of the counsel of their parents when they are considering a life-altering decision."

The court decisions have cost Idaho more than $730,000, including a requirement to pay nearly $400,000 in attorney fees to Planned Parenthood, which challenged the last parental consent law in 2005.