It will be a sad day in our country when a judge faces disciplinary action for stating a scientific fact during a hearing—but that is exactly what abortion rights advocates want. NARAL Pro-Choice America and RH Reality Check filed a formal complaint against Judge Peter Bataillon with the Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualifications, in part because he stated from the bench that abortion kills a child.
Here is the background. In Nebraska, a minor who wants an abortion must obtain the consent of one of her parents. If she wishes to bypass this requirement, she may request a hearing before a judge. Before a judge may waive the parental consent requirement, however, he must find by “clear and convincing evidence” that either (a) the minor is sufficiently mature and well-informed to make an abortion decision without parental involvement, or (b) there is evidence of abuse by a parent, or (c) that an abortion without the consent of her parent is in her best interests.
It was in the course of one of these hearings that Judge Bataillon informed a young woman that “abortion [will] kill the child inside you.” Yes, this is a very direct statement—a direct statement that she needed to hear. As with any surgical procedure, abortion carries many risks, with no guarantee whether or not a woman will suffer as a result of one of these risks. There is one indisputable guarantee, however—at the end of a complete abortion, her child will be dead.
No single piece of information could be more important for ensuring that a minor is well-informed. Judge Bataillon had a grave responsibility to confirm that the young woman before him fully understood the consequences of having an abortion. By taking this responsibility seriously, he showed care for the minor’s wellbeing.
Abortion is often psychologically traumatic, and the psychological risks inflict minors with particular force. In studying teens aged 15 to 18, researchers have found that minors who became pregnant and carried to term had a 35.7 percent chance of experiencing major depression, but minors who aborted had an astonishing 78.6 percent chance of experiencing major depression. In teens, the chance of experiencing anxiety after abortion was 64.3 percent, and the chance of suicidal ideation was 50 percent.
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Given the abortion industry’s efforts to mask the true nature of abortion through the use of terms like “choice” and “product of conception,” one must wonder how many suffering young women were not fully aware that their actions would end the lives of their children—distinct individuals—before it was too late.
Judge Bataillon ensured that the young woman appearing before him would not be uninformed. Telling a young woman that abortion would kill her child did not evidence Judge Bataillon’s bias—it demonstrated his fidelity to the legal requirement that he ascertain the young woman’s knowledge about abortion. He should be commended for his efforts, not censored.
 D.M. Fergusson et al., Abortion in Young Women and Subsequent Mental Health, J. Child Psychol. & Psychiat. 41(1):16 (2006) at 19.