Ruling striking down part of Alabama’s abortion consent laws upheld

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A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a lower court’s ruling that struck down part of Alabama’s abortion consent laws.

A 1979 Supreme Court ruling said that it is unconstitutional to require minors to have their parents consent to get an abortion. Instead, the Supreme Court said states must allow minors to seek judicial-bypass of their parent’s consent by proving to a judge that she is mature and well-informed enough to make the abortion decision on her own.

In 2014, the Alabama legislature passed amendments to its judicial bypass laws that allowed courts to disclose the identity of the minor seeking judicial bypass to third parties, such as the District Attorney, a court-appointed legal guardian of the unborn baby, and in some cases, the girl’s parents.

In it’s Wednesday ruling, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld a district court’s ruling that the 2014 amendments to the judicial bypass law were unconstitutional. The district court had ruled that there was no need for the state to disclose the identify of the minor to those third parties and that the judicial bypass process should feel more like talking to a family member and less like a formal court affair.

Minors seeking to have an abortion without their parent’s approval still must prove to the court that she is mature and well-informed enough to make that decision on her own.

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