News Abortion

Nebraska Passes Parental Consent Law, Requires Notarized Signatures

Robin Marty

A teen seeking an abortion must now have signed, notoraized permission from a parent.

Are you a teen who wants an abortion in Nebraska?  You not only have to tell a parent, grandparent, or judge about it, now you have to tell a notary public, too.

So much for privacy.

Via the Nebraska State Paper:

Gov. Dave Heineman has signed a bill requiring minors to present written, notarized consent from a parent or guardian in order to obtain an abortion.

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Minors can ask a court to waive the requirement in cases where abuse is alleged or a medical emergency can be established. A grandparent or a judge could give approval in cases of alleged abuse.

Notarized consent?  Really?  So it’s not enough to have parental consent, they need to spend money to get it a notary public involved, and tell a stranger about the situation?

Anti-choice legislators — limiting abortion access a nickle and a dime at a time.

News Abortion

Oklahoma Passes Harsh Parental Consent Bill, While Louisiana Teens Can Turn Parents in for Abuse

Robin Marty

Oklahoma's governor has signed into law a bill that will make getting an abortion much more difficult for teens, while in Louisiana a new bill would make it possible to charge parents with child abuse for "coercing" daughters into abortion.

Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Mary Fallin has signed into law a bill that will make accessing an abortion much more difficult for teens, even with parental consent. Meanwhile, in Louisiana, a new bill would make it possible to charge parents with child abuse for trying to “coerce” daughters out of carrying pregnancies to term.

Fallin’s signature on HB 1361 wasn’t much in doubt, based on the governor’s past support of abortion restrictions. Minors seeking an abortion in the state now must have the consent of a parent or guardian who has a valid ID and provides a signing, notarized consent form, or the minors may seek a judicial bypass, but the bill stipulates that they can only do so in the county in which they reside. If the judge in that county will not authorize the bypass, teens are left with no safe, legal option.

In Louisiana, lawmakers are considering making it a crime to “coerce” a teen into an abortion, defining such coercion as child abuse. The bill also expands the definition of coercion to include threats of “deprivation of food and shelter.”

The addition of “threats of deprivation” is reminiscent of the February case of a pregnant Texas teen whose parents were accused of trying to coerce her into an abortion by taking away her cell phone and car until she agreed to terminate the pregnancy. The teen testified that they attempted to “make her miserable so that she would give in to the coercion and have the abortion.” The parents denied the allegations, but a judge ruled that the parents must return the car to allow her to get to work and school and pay half of the hospital bills when she gave birth unless she got married in the following months.
While most people would agree that no one, including parents, should threaten a teen into an unwanted abortion, the new language could set the stage for more court challenges in which parents and their children are pitted against each other amid disagreements about what constitutes “threat of deprivation.” Meanwhile, just a short ways away in Oklahoma, a parent who wants to support the decision of a teen who wants an abortion will find it increasingly difficult to do so.

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News Abortion

Montana Parental Consent Law Passes Without Governor’s Signature

Robin Marty

The governor may have refused to sign the bill into law, but a much stricter parental consent law may be going into effect anyway.

A parental consent law in Montana has only been in effect for a few months, but the state legislature has already decided it is broad enough. Now, a much broader blanket consent measure has been made law, despite the governor’s refusal to sign the bill into law. The next question is whether it will ever actually be enacted, or if it will be immediately blocked for violating the state constitution.

Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock refused to sign the new parental consent bill passed during the legislative session, allowing it to become law despite his lack of approval. As a result, the state will now require any girl under age 18 to get permission from a parent before terminating a pregnancy. This is a major change from the law just enacted in February requiring notification of a parent only if the teen is 15 or younger.

The prior age limit was approved by voters during the 2012 election as part of a statewide ballot initiative. The specific ag was suggested after legal experts told the legislature that requiring parental consent for an older teen would violate her right to privacy as guaranteed in the Montana constitution.

According to the Associated Press, the refusal to sign or veto the law was a deliberate strategy by the governor, both to set up the potential legal challenge for this requirement and to stop the legislature from doing another statewide referendum like the one that passed last fall. Without a veto to try to override, a referendum isn’t a viable option, and with precedent on their side, reproductive rights groups feel confident that the courts will once more uphold the right to privacy guaranteed under the state constitution, even if the person seeking an abortion is a minor.

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Parental notification was part of a package of 2012 referendum around eliminating abortion access in Montana sponsored by Republicans hoping that the ballot initiatives would help drive more voters to the polls on election day.

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