Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out the court’s double standards on abortion Thursday in a ruling about a minor convicted of homicide.
Thomas, probably the strongest pro-life justice on the high court, mentioned abortion in his concurring opinion in the case Jones v. Mississippi, according to National Review.
The case had noting to do with abortion; the justices upheld a decision to give life without parole to a minor who was found guilty of murder. But Thomas noticed that the court seems to treat children differently depending on the issue.
“The Court’s language in this line of precedents is notable,” Thomas wrote. “When addressing juvenile murderers, this Court has stated that ‘children are different’ and that courts must consider ‘a child’s lesser culpability.’”
On the issue of abortion, however, Thomas said the court has made the opposite determination for children.
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“… when assessing the Court-created right of an individual of the same age to seek an abortion, Members of this Court take pains to emphasize a ‘young woman’s’ right to choose,” he continued, citing previous rulings. “It is curious how the Court’s view of the maturity of minors ebbs and flows depending on the issue.”
Supreme Court rulings do allow states to enact parental consent or parental notification laws for minors seeking abortions. However, the court also ruled that these laws must include exceptions for young girls to seek a judicial bypass, meaning permission from a judge, rather than notify or seek permission from her parents.
Currently, 37 states require some type of parental consent or notification before an underage girl can have an abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
But abortion advocacy groups are making a concerted effort to end all parental involvement laws for abortions. An Illinois law requiring that a parent be notified at least 48 hours before their underage daughter has an abortion is one of their key targets this spring.
Victims of human trafficking and abuse are speaking out about the need for such laws, emphasizing how they protect young girls from being forced or coerced into abortions by abusers.
Parental consent is common for most actions involving children – from medication and ear piercings to field trips and participation in sports. Pro-life advocates and most Americans believe that parents should be involved in a young daughter’s abortion decision because an abortion is a life-ending act that kills an unborn child and can pose serious physical and psychological risks to the mother.