Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill wants the U.S. Supreme Court to determine if parents have the right to know when their underage daughter has an abortion.
On Friday, Hill asked the high court to uphold a 2017 state law that requires parents to be notified before their daughter aborts her unborn child, according to a press release from Hill’s office.
The law, which is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union, requires abortion providers to obtain proof of consent from a parent or legal guardian before a girl under age 18 has 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 makes sure parents are involved if a minor appears before a judge to request an abortion without her parents’ consent.
“Nothing in the U.S. Constitution prohibits Indiana from requiring parental notification when an unemancipated minor is getting an abortion,” Hill said in a statement. “Even to get a tattoo, a minor in Indiana needs parental permission. Quite simply, parents have rights and responsibilities in the care and upbringing of a child.”
Thus far, Indiana has not been allowed to enforce the law because of the legal challenge. In August, a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a preliminary injunction blocking the state from enforcing the law. Later, the full court refused Hill’s petition to hear the case, arguing that only the U.S. Supreme Court “can give an authoritative answer” on the matter.
“When even the most experienced and distinguished members of the federal judiciary throw up their hands in confused frustration, it is time for our nation’s highest court to issue guidance,” Hill said.
He said the law would protect young girls as well as their parents.
“An abortion is a medical procedure that could have implications for a child’s future treatment,” he said. “It’s an event that could bear on a child’s emotional needs and mental health, and it’s an event that parents need to know about in order to provide nurturing care and guidance.”
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WIBC News reports ACLU attorney Ken Falk argued that the law is unconstitutional because it imposes an “undue burden” on young women’s access to abortion.
“In some cases, parents aren’t available or would put the woman in serious danger of either physical or emotional harm of blocking the abortion,” Falk said.
The abortion giant Planned Parenthood also is involved in the lawsuit.
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 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 alleged 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 teenager 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 abortions without their parents’ knowledge or consent.