by Steven Ertelt
February 26, 2007
Boise, ID (LifeNews.com) — Under a bill approved by the Idaho state Senate, a teenager in the state would not be able to get an abortion unless her parents gave their consent. This is another attempt to get the state to put the idea on the books since courts have declared previous consent statutes unconstitutional.
The consent requirement would apply to any teenager under the age of 18 who isn’t married and requires abortion practitioners to obtain written consent of one parent before the abortion can be done.
In an email to LifeNews.com, Right to Life of Idaho legislative director Kerry Uhlenkott called the vote "a huge victory for Idaho parents and their minor daughters."
"We are very optimistic about its passing the House," she said.
Laws in other states have proven effective in reducing the number of teen abortions.
The Senate voted 23-12 on Monday to send the measure, S. 1082, on to the state House for its consideration.
Sen. Russ Fulcher, a Republican from Meridian who is the lead sponsor, says he has deleted provisions from the last attempt to pass the bill that have been found unconstitutional and he’s hoping the revised measure will work.
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 told the Senate State Affairs Committee during a hearing on the measure. The panel eventually passed it 7-2.
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 an AP report.
A new study LifeNews.com 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.
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.