Texas took another step to protect young girls and their unborn babies from abortion this week.
The state Supreme Court issued a ruling Tuesday that strengthens the rules against secret abortions conducted on girls under the age of 18, according to Texas Alliance for Life.
Texas law requires a minor seeking an abortion to receive consent of at least one parent, but a loophole allows young girls to get around the requirement by requesting permission from a judge instead. Texas pro-life advocates have been working for more than a decade to strengthen the law and put an end to abuses of the judicial bypass process, according to the pro-life group.
“We are pleased with the Supreme Court’s strong rules regarding the judicial bypass process for abortions on minor girls,” said Joe Pojman, Ph.D., executive director of Texas Alliance for Life. “The reforms closed loopholes and increased protections for the minors from abuse.”
Earlier this year, Texas legislators passed, and Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law, House Bill 3994 to reform the judicial bypass process, according to the pro-life group. The law is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1.
“The Texas Supreme Court has faithfully implemented House Bill 3994 in a way that will best protect the well being of minor girls,” Pojman said.
John Seago, legislative director for Texas Right to Life, told LifeNews previously that abortion advocates have been exploiting the judicial bypass loophole ever since the state’s parental consent law went into effect in 1999.
Seago said the loophole opened the doors for exploitation of young victims of sexual abuse, allowing the abuser to cover up the abuse by petitioning the court rather than involving the girl’s parents.
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Sarah Crawford, writing for Texas Right to Life, explained more: “If a girl does not want to involve her parents in the abortion, or even reveal the pregnancy to them, most abortion clinics will furnish the minor a list of attorneys who volunteer to help the vulnerable teen navigate the court system. These attorneys are skilled at judge-shopping and serve as artful emissaries for the abortion industry.”
Crawford pointed out that all the court proceedings and any subsequent appeals are funded by taxpayers in Texas. She said the proceedings all are confidential, so no records or data are kept.
“Furthermore, because the proceedings are confidential, Child Protective Services cannot– and will not – be called if the girl reports physical or emotional abuse to the judge. The judge will only contact the police if the girl says her pregnancy is the result of sexual assault,” Crawford said.
The new provisions upheld by the Texas Supreme Court this week will help to end abortion advocates’ abuses of the judicial bypass provision. The new law adds new reporting requirements about the minor, increases the time a judge has to rule on the matter from two days to five, and removes a provision that grants a default bypass if the judge does not rule in time, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Though abortion advocates fight parental consent laws, the measures have wide public support among both pro-life and pro-choice Americans. In a society where parents must give permission for their child to take an aspirin at school, it makes sense that a complex medical procedure – not to mention one that involves the death of an unborn child and often leaves lasting physical and/or emotional scars on the girl – involves a minor’s parents.
Parental consent/notification laws have been shown to reduce abortions in many states. A study by Michael New, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Alabama, found that parental involvement laws reduce in-state abortion rates for minors by approximately 15 percent.
There are 38 states that require some sort of parental notification or permission before a minor can get an abortion.