Judges OK 75% of Waivers for Arizona Teens to Get Abortions Without Parental Consent

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 12, 2013   |   5:05PM   |   Phoenix, AZ

A new report today shows judges in the state of Arizona approve about 75 percent of the judicial bypass requests teens file each year to get abortions without their parents’ okay.

Abortion clinics routinely employ pro-abortion attorneys who are familiar with the judicial system and go before friendly judges to get teens around the state’s parental involvement law. Other states have sought to tighten their consent or notification laws to fix this problem.

Despite the issues, parental consent laws still cut the number of teen abortions by almost 19 percent.

From the report:

In the past three years, judges in Arizona have approved nearly three out of every four abortions requested by minors without parental consent, recently released court records show.

The records, which are released by the Administrative Office of the Courts to the Arizona Department of Health Services every year, show that since 2010, state judges have granted 95 out of 128 petitions by minors to receive abortions without consent from their parents. It is state law to have parental consent if a minor is seeking an abortion, but the minor may subvert the parental consent requirement by going to court for approval.

Helena Silverstein, a professor at Lafayette College who specializes in abortion politics, told the Arizona-Capitol Times that it is not uncommon for a minor to receive court approval for an abortion if they have been dedicated enough to go through the court process. “In every state I have studied, or other people have studied, the pattern is the same, and the pattern is that a minor who makes her way to a court and gets before a judge to petition for a bypass is very likely to get her petition granted.”



The recent figures, which were published this month by the Health Department, show that the state has seen an overall drop in abortions, with a 7.4 percent decline in total abortions from 2011 to 2012. Despite this figure, there has also been an increase in court-approved abortion petitions, rising from 32 in 2011 to 42 in 2012. Little more is known about the circumstances surrounding each abortion petition, as court proceedings are held privately for minor confidentiality.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 38 states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. All but one of these states allow for alternative process for minors seeking abortions, including a judicial bypass procedure which allows the minor to gain approval from the court.

The report on teen abortions comes after news that the number of abortions has declined in Arizona. A new report from the state health department in Arizona shows the number of abortions there has declined more than seven percent, thanks in part to the passage of more pro-life laws limiting abortions.

The Department of Health Services annual abortion report shows a 7.4% decrease in the number of abortions performed in Arizona in 2012 as compared to 2011. Abortions dropped 8 percent from 2010-2011 after dropping 30 percent the year before.