A Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals panel struck down a pro-life Indiana law Friday that requires parents to be informed before their underage daughter has an abortion.
Indiana Public Media reports the three-judge panel sided with Planned Parenthood about the parental consent law, declaring it unconstitutional.
Passed in 2017, the state law strengthens parental rights by requiring abortion providers to obtain proof of consent from a parent or legal guardian before a girl under 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 notified if a minor appears before a judge to request an abortion without parental consent unless the judge determines that notifying her parents would not be in her best interest.
A primary goal of the law is to protect young girls from abuse. Sexual abusers have been known to take their young victims to abortion clinics to cover up rape and pregnancy. The law, if upheld, would help ensure abusers are not posing as their young victim’s parent or guardian.
However, the Planned Parenthood abortion chain claims the requirements are burdensome, and two of the three Seventh Circuit judges agreed. In their ruling Friday, they concluded that the parental notification requirement creates an “undue burden” on young girls’ access to abortion, according to The Federalist.
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Michael Kanne, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, said the court was wrong in its assessment.
“The Supreme Court has confirmed that parental-notification requirements are constitutional time and again,” Kanne wrote. “And Planned Parenthood has failed to show that requiring mature minors to notify their parents that they intend to have an abortion (where a judge has found that avoiding notification is not in their best interests) constitutes an undue burden under [Planned Parenthood v. Casey].”
Indiana is expected to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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.
However, Planned Parenthood, NARAL and other pro-abortion 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.
In 2013, Planned Parenthood also filed a lawsuit in Montana to overturn its parental involvement requirements.
Parental involvement 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 the abuse, LifeNews reported.