May 18, 2017
May 18, 2017
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) challenging portions of SB 404, a parental notification and consent law that says for a minor under the age of 18 to obtain an abortion, their parent, legal guardian or custodian must accompany them and provide written consent and government-issued proof of identification. The law contains a bypass option which allows a teenager who objects to having to obtain consent to petition the juvenile court for a waiver of parental consent and notification.
Plaintiffs are challenging three provisions of the law.
The first permits a judge who hears a bypass request for a pregnant minor to alert legal guardian(s) that the teenager is seeking an abortion, even if the judge rules that the teenager is mature enough to make the decision as to whether to have an abortion independently. Plaintiffs claim that this places a substantial obstacle to a teenager seeking abortion and is an undue burden due to the risk that a teenager’s parent will be notified even if that teenager has been deemed mature enough to make their own decision. Plaintiffs argue that for a for a parental notice provision to be constitutional, minors must be able to seek a bypass without having a parent notified.
The second provision contains new amended consent requirements that make physicians responsible for verifying the legal relationship between a pregnant teenager and the adult providing consent for the abortion. The law says that after the physician obtains evidence verifying the pregnant teenager’s legal relationship to that adult, the physician must sign an affidavit that “to the best information and belief, a reasonable person under similar circumstances would rely on the information provided . . . as sufficient evidence of [the] identity and relationship.” Plaintiffs argue that this language is vague and therefore violates due process.
Finally, the third provision prohibits anyone from aiding an unemancipated minor who is seeking an abortion. Plaintiffs allege that this provision violates the First Amendment because it will prohibit abortion providers from advising unemancipated minors that they can travel to other states to obtain their abortions.
In addition, because physicians treating teenagers in any other medical setting are not required to verify legal documents before providing care, plaintiffs argue that the law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
On June 28, 2017, U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker blocked the three provisions of SB 404, noting that “a statute requiring parental notice must, similar to a parental-consent statute, include a provision allowing a minor to bypass parental notice upon showing that she is mature enough and well enough informed to make the decision
on her own.”
**last updated on July 19, 2017