Judge Strikes Down Pro-Life Alabama Law Requiring Parental Consent for an Abortion

Controversial Alabama abortion law struck down

U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Russ Walker struck down sections of the law on Friday, claiming they put an undue burden on young girls seeking abortions, the Associated Press reports.

The laws ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation; impose restrictions regarding the fetal remains that could allow a woman's sexual partner or even her rapist, to effectively block her abortion; expand requirements around reporting a minor's abortion to law enforcement; and require providers to obtain records of a woman's entire history of pregnancy. The 2014 law modified the process to allow a judge to appoint a guardian "for the interests of the unborn child".

Johnston says the new law gets the district attorney into the picture to present information as to whether the abortion was truly in her best interests.

In short, a judicial bypass allows pregnant minors to obtain a necessary abortion without their parents' consent by seeking and obtaining the consent of a judge.

But on Friday, Walker issued a 54-page opinion that ruled the 2014 amendment unconstitutional and found that it violated the minor's "constitutionally guaranteed option of an anonymous and expeditious [judicial] bypass".

A federal judge has struck down an Alabama law that put minors seeking court permission for an abortion through a proceeding where the unborn baby could be represented by a court-appointed lawyer.

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"Today's ruling is a victory for women, for young people, and for reproductive health in Alabama", said Andrew Beck, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project.

Alabama, like all other states requiring pregnant minors to seek parental consent to obtain an abortion, legally require that those underage teen girls to have access to a "judicial bypass" procedure.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of Reproductive Health Services, a clinic that performs abortions.

Under the now-rejected law, a minor seeking an abortion without her parents' approval could undergo a hard court proceeding. However, a judicial bypass provision allows a minor to request a judge's permission to have an abortion rather than a parent's.

On June 27, a family court judge approved an abortion for the girl, who had just completed fifth grade, according to Alabama.com. On July 12 the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals ruled in the girl's favor. According to her ruling, Walker "located no other state" that uses a law like the Alabama one.

The ACLU also cited the 12-year-old's case in praising the decision of U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Russ Walker, claiming that the controversial abortion law made the girl's already awful situation worse.

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