Idaho Judge Dismisses Lawsuit on Old Parental Consent Abortion Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 15, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Idaho Judge Dismisses Lawsuit on Old Parental Consent Abortion Law Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 15,

Boise, ID ( — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit Planned Parenthood brought against a parental consent abortion law the state legislature enacted in 2005 because it has been replaced with a newer version. Idaho Gov Butch Otter signed the newer consent measure into law in March.

The new provision requires parental consent before an abortion can be done on a minor teenager. That gives parents the right and ability to refuse to allow their daughters to have an abortion.

Idaho has been without a Parental Consent Law since 2005, when federal District Court Judge Lynn Winmill enjoined the state from enforcing the law because of his concerns over the notification of parents in the event an abortion practitioner performed an emergency abortion on their child.

Judge Winmill dismissed the Planned Parenthood lawsuit after the state and the abortion business agreed it should be over.

However, the judge maintained his earlier ruling that Planned Parenthood would likely win its lawsuit and that the case law his previous ruling established still stands.

The effort to get a consent law on the books goes back to the 1998 session of the Idaho Legislature. This time, Rep. Tom Loertscher and Sen. Russ Fulcher championed the effort to protect teenagers and parents’ rights.

Fulcher deleted provisions from the last attempt to pass the bill that have been found unconstitutional and he’s hoping the revised measure will work.

“This is a tremendous victory for the families of Idaho. We fully expect this law to go unchallenged in court,” said David Ripley of Idaho Chooses Life, in a statement emailed to in March.

“With the bill’s emergency clause, this law is now in effect. Hopefully the days are past when Planned Parenthood and others can prey upon Idaho’s daughters," he added.

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.

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, tried to get the legislature to defeat the bill during the session.

Ripley singled out the office of Attorney General Lawrence Wasden for their many hours of labor in reviewing the legislation.

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.

Similar laws in other states have proven effective in reducing the number of teen abortions.

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

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.

Related web sites:
Idaho Chooses Life –
Right to Life of Idaho –
Idaho state legislature –