by Steven Ertelt
March 6, 2008
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — A Michigan legislative panel has approved a bill that would put in place better rules for judges who are considering letting teenagers get around the state’s parental consent law on abortions. Michigan pro-life advocates are concerned that the waiver process has become a rubber stamp approval for any abortions.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill on a 4-3 party-line vote with Republicans supporting it and Democrats opposed.
The Michigan parental consent law was supposed to increase parental involvement and reduce the number of teen abortions. It has to some extent, yet abortion advocates have found a way to legally circumvent it by abusing the judicial bypass option.
Abortion facilities have hired attorneys to go "judge shopping" in surrounding counties to find a local judge who will approve the abortion.
To combat this practice, the legislation would create guidelines for judges to consider before granting the consent waiver.
The judge must weigh factors about whether the secret abortion is really beneficial for the teen girl such as the girl’s dependence on her parents, her maturity, her school performance, and other factors.
It would also prevent a judge from granting the bypass if another judge has already analyzed the case and determined the minor girl should first receive permission from her parents for the abortion.
According to the Detroit News, Ed Rivet, the legislative director of Right to Life of Michigan, told senators that some judges are upset that there are no consistent rules for considering the bypass and worried that some judges grant them consistently while others follow the original law.
The newspaper indicated Shelli Weisberg, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, said about 75 percent of teenagers getting abortions had parental consent. She said 380 requests for waivers were filed in 2006 but did not say how many were granted.
According to 2004 statistics from the Michigan Department of Community Health, the number of abortions performed on minors has been cut by over 55% and the number of teenagers giving birth has decreased by over 49% since passage of Michigan’s parental consent law in 1990.
Governor Jennifer Granholm vetoed an earlier bill in February 2004 that would address this problem.
A companion bill to SB 1059, H.B. 5650, was introduced by Rep. David Robertson on January 22, 2008 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
ACTION: Please contact your state senator and urge strong support for S.B.1059. Go to https://www.rtl.org/html/legislation/find.html for contact information.
Right to Life of Michigan – https://www.rtl.org