Not Wanting To Tell Parents Can No Longer Be Used As Excuse to Turn Down Judical Bypass In Pennsylvania

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Not Wanting To Tell Parents Can No Longer Be Used As Excuse to Turn Down Judical Bypass In Pennsylvania

Robin Marty

The state Supreme Court rules that a judge may have misused his authority in denying a request to bypass parental notification rules.

In an attempt to clarify what can and can’t be used as reasons for a judge to deny parental consent bypass when it comes to an under-aged teen procuring an abortion, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has now made it clear that “she doesn’t want to tell her parents” cannot be a reason to say no.


“Every minor who seeks judicial authorization for an abortion does so because she lacks or elects not to seek parental consent,” Justice Max Baer wrote for the majority. “Thus, a minor’s failure to consult with or obtain the consent of her parent cannot serve as the basis for denying a petition for judicial authorization.”


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Baer wrote that Jane Doe applied for the judicial bypass in March 2010, saying she was three months shy of turning 18, 10 weeks pregnant, and a high school senior with average grades who planned to go to college and hoped to become a lawyer.

She told the county judge she was concerned her mother would throw her out if she learned of the pregnancy, and that she had no relationship with her father.

When her lawyer asked the judge why he denied her application, the decision says the judge replied that if the judicial bypass was used any time a minor was worried her parent would be disappointed in the decision to have an abortion, “I can’t imagine that any parent is going to receive news that their child has an unplanned pregnancy.”

The judge later stated that he has other reasons for doubting her maturity, such as her lack of proper grammar and that she “was accompanied by her mother when traveling abroad.”