Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit this week challenging a new Indiana law that requires minors to obtain a parent’s consent before having an abortion.
Indiana Senate Bill 404 strengthens current state law regarding parental rights when a young woman under 18 seeks an abortion. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the new law in April.
The law will require abortion providers to obtain proof of consent from a parent or legal guardian before a minor daughter gets an abortion. It gives parents/legal guardians a civil recourse if someone fraudulently poses as a parent in order for a minor girl to get an abortion. It also involves parents if a minor appears before a judge to request an abortion without parental consent.
It also changes the requirement to report underage abortions to the Indiana State Department of Health and Indiana Department of Child Services from girls under 14 to girls under 16. And it provides information and help to women who are being coerced into an abortion or sexually trafficked.
The law is scheduled to go into effect in July, but the ACLU and Planned Parenthood want a judge to block the state from enforcing parts of it, The Indiana Business Journal reports.
Here’s more from the report:
The lawsuit … challenges Section 4, the parental consent aspect and process a physician must follow to certify the relationship between the minor and parent, and Section 4.2(a), regarding preventing someone from assisting an unemancipated pregnant minor in obtaining an abortion without the consent required under Section 4.
PPINK [Planned Parenthood’s Indiana affiliate] maintains this section violates the First Amendment as it prohibits the organization from advising its minor patients and people seeking abortion services that they can travel to other states where consent may not be required to obtain abortions.
In a statement, the ACLU of Indiana claims the provisions violate young women’s constitutional rights by imposing “new burdens” on their access to abortion.
A leading pro-life advocate talked with LifeNews.
Parental notification/parental consent laws have strong public support. Currently, 37 states require some type of parental involvement in a minor’s abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
These laws can help protect young women from abusive situations. Sexual abusers have been known to take their young victims to abortion clinics when they become pregnant.
In 2008, a Planned Parenthood in Bloomington, Indiana was exposed for agreeing to help cover up the sexual abuse of a minor in an undercover sting.
In another case in Ohio, Planned Parenthood faced a lawsuit after it failed to report the statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl. The girl’s soccer coach got her pregnant and then took her to the abortion clinic to cover up his crime, LifeNews reported.
Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life, previously has spoken about how parental involvement laws help protect vulnerable young girls from abuses.
“Who takes under-aged, pregnant girls across state lines for abortion? Most often, it’s noncustodial, older men who are sexual predators seeking to conceal the crime of statutory rape or other noncustodial adults involved in sex trafficking of minors,” she wrote at LifeNews in 2012.
Foster pointed to the testimony of abortionist Bruce Lucero who wrote in the New York Times: “… a parent’s input is the best guarantee that a teen-ager will make a decision that is correct for her—be it abortion, adoption or keeping the baby. And it helps guarantee that if a teenager chooses an abortion, she will receive appropriate medical care.”
However, Planned Parenthood, NARAL and other abortion advocacy groups often lobby against parental involvement laws. They believe that underage girls should be able to abort their unborn babies in a dangerous surgical or drug-induced abortion procedure without their parents’ knowledge or consent.