by Steven Ertelt
April 2, 2007
Phoenix, AZ (LifeNews.com) — An Arizona state Senate committee has approved a House-passed bill that would tighten the requirements before a teen can escape getting her parents permission for an abortion. The measure would make it more difficult for a teenager to get a judicial waiver that would allow an abortion without her parents knowing or approving.
The Senate Committee on Public Safety and Human Services voted for the measure 5-2 and it now heads to the full Senate for its consideration.
Attorney Peter Gentala of the Center for Arizona Policy argued in favor of the bill in front of the committee, saying it simply puts into law what courts have already allowed.
But, Eleanor Eisenberg, a lobbyist for NARAL’s Arizona affiliate, said the bill is stronger than what the courts have approved.
Under the bill, HB 2641, a pregnant teen would have to prove to a judge that she is "sufficiently mature" to comprehend the ramifications of having an abortion without her parents knowing.
Gov. Janet Napolitano, a pro-abortion Democrat, vetoed a similar bill last year, but legislators modified this year’s measure. It now doesn’t include a requirement that the teenager must consult with a doctor before the judge can issue the waiver.
Sponsor Steve Yarbrough, a Republican, says the bill improves current law and the House approved it 34-21 without any debate.
Under last year’s bill a judge was instructed to look at other factors in the bypass case such as the girl’s age and experience outside the home as well as whether or not she has fully considered other options like adoption or keeping the baby.
Arizona’s parental consent law was enacted in 2000 and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld it as constitutional in 2002, saying girls attempting to get a judicial bypass for an abortion should have a higher burden of proof.
In her veto letter, the governor said the appeals court decision provided sufficient guidance for judges. She also opposed a provision in the bill requiring a girl considering an abortion to see a doctor beforehand.
Pro-life groups and lawmakers say judges are too frequently approving the bypass, allowing a teen’s abortion without her parents knowing. The waiver is only supposed to be issued in cases when a teen is worried about physical abuse from her parents.
Napolitano has also vetoed a measure to make sure taxpayer funds don’t pay for abortions for state works and another providing better enforcement of parental consent on abortions. The second measure would make it so the consent forms would need to be notarized before the abortion could be done.
She also vetoed bills that would have prohibited the sale of human eggs, which researchers use in human cloning and embryonic stem cell research and another that would allow women to know that an unborn baby will feel intense pain during an abortion procedure.
The governor vetoed a bill in 2004 that would have allowed women to receive information about abortion’s risks and alternatives that abortion businesses sometimes withhold from women considering abortions.
Napolitano has also vetoed a measure that would have protected pro-life pharmacists from being forced to dispense drugs that could cause abortions.