On Tuesday, the Indiana Senate approved a measure that would forbid pregnant minors from obtaining abortions without first attempting to legally notify their parents.
According to the Associated Press, the measure would change the state’s existing judicial waiver process for minors seeking abortions, which allows a minor to secure a juvenile court order that would bypass the state’s requirement to get a parent’s approval for an abortion.
The bill would require that at least one of the minor’s parents be served a legal written notice that the minor is seeking an abortion through the waiver process. Only once the notice is served could a juvenile court hearing occur to approve the minor’s waiver. The bill would also allow parents to testify if their daughter is competent enough to decide for herself if she can have an abortion.
Several lawmakers and abortion activists, Republicans included, said the bill would be deemed unconstitutional since it effectively eliminates the minor bypass. Critics also say the bill makes the process of obtaining abortions via parental bypass more difficult in cases of rape and incest and could put minors at risk of physical harm.
“This is essentially and fundamentally going through, around, and getting rid of the whole point of judicial bypass,” Democratic state Sen. Karen Tallian said, according to AP. “It puts the parents back into the mix, when the whole purpose of the bypass was to keep them out of the mix.”
However, supporters say the bill would protect teens from being coerced into having abortions, noting that it doesn’t allow parents to veto their child’s decision to get an abortion if granted the bypassjust that it would let parents provide evidence on the maturity of their child to make that decision.
According to the Indianapolis Star, executive director of the ACLU of Indiana, Jane Henegar, has said the bill violates current case law, and that they will sue Indiana if the bill becomes a law.
Research organization the Guttmacher Institute reports that of the 36 states that allow minors to pursue judicial waivers, none require parents be notified of the bypass. In addition to circumventing the bypass, the bill would also allow parents of minors who have had abortions to pursue legal recourse against individuals who helped the minor get the abortion without their consent.
Decisions on the parental notification bill came just a day after the Indiana House approved a bill requiring abortion providers to tell patients about a possible “abortion reversal” procedure, which hasn’t been scientifically proven to work. The bill would require that abortion providers tell women about the procedure, where they can get it, and include a disclaimer that it’s not scientifically proven.
A medical abortion requires two medicines to be taken over the course of a few days, but advocates of this bill say that the abortion can be reversed halfway through if patients are given a high level of progesterone. Opponents, including those who are against abortion, say the bill provides women with conflicting information and is far-reaching.
The parental notification bill has been sent to the House for further consideration, while the abortion reversal bill has been sent to the Senate.