Ohio Bill to Strengthen Parental Consent on Abortion Passes

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 16, 2011   |   12:11PM   |   Columbus, OH

An Ohio bill meant to strengthen the parental consent law in place that prohibits teens from getting an abortion without their parents’ consent is moving along in the legislative process.

House Bill 63 and Senate Bill 8 would revise Ohio’s current judicial bypass provision in the parental consent on abortion law. This bill will strengthen current law by requiring a “clear and convincing evidence” standard, require judges to specifically inquire about the minor’s understanding of the possible physical and emotional complications of an abortion, and require judges to question how much the minor has been prepped to respond to such questions.

Parental involvement laws like consent and notification have proven very effective in lowering the number of teen abortions, but abortion businesses have sometimes turned to pro-abortion judges to rubber stamp a judicial bypass for an abortion that allows a teen to keep her parents in the dark. The provision is meant for very rare cases in which a young girl may be subjected to physical abuse for telling her parents about a desired abortion — not for any case in which a teen girl doesn’t want to have a conversation with her mother and father.

Yesterday, the House voted for HB 63 with an overwhelming 64 to 33 bipartisan vote – nearly three quarters of the members of the state House. This pro-life legislation now heads to the Ohio Senate for additional hearings. 

“Ohioans know that parental consent laws save lives,” said Mike Gonidakis, Executive Director for Ohio Right to Life, in a statement to LifeNews.com. “We are trying very hard to preserve parents’ ability to help their daughters when they are confronted with the challenges of teenage pregnancy.  A recent study proved that responsible parental consent laws reduce the minor abortion rate by 18.7 percent.”

“Current Ohio law states that parental consent is required before a minor can obtain an abortion, but a loophole exists which allows judges to bypass parental involvement and allow a minor to obtain an abortion,” he said. “H.B. 63 puts an end to this “rubber-stamp” judicial approval. On behalf of all pro-life Ohioans, we would like to thank Representatives Young and Slaby, along with Speaker of the House Bill Batchelder for his support and leadership by passing pro-life legislation.”

“The strong support received for H.B. 63 highlights that the state of Ohio has the capacity to become a pro-life state while it continues to initiate responsible and compassionate legislation.  Ohio Right to Life thanks the many representatives who continue to take a stand for women and the unborn,” Gonidakis said.

Representative Ron Young and Representative Lynn Slaby are sponsors of this measure in the House, and Senator Tim Grendell sponsored the bill in the Senate.

“This legislation is sorely needed,” said Rep. Young. “The legislation sponsored by Rep. Slaby and myself will address concerns that some courts are approaching this bypass process with a “rubber-stamp” approval. A minor’s decision to terminate a pregnancy can have immeasurable consequences. It is critical that we do everything possible to allow for meaningful parental input.”

“It is important that Judges are clearly convinced that the child understands the consequences of her actions and that she is doing so without outside faulty influence. This legislation is also important so that the Courts of Appeals can properly review the actions of the trial court,” Rep. Slaby said.

Several other Ohio pro-life groups have also issued endorsements for the legislation, including Americans United for Life, the Catholic Conference of Ohio, Democrats for Life of Ohio, Ohio Christian Alliance, Priests for Life and the Life Issues Institute.