Bill strengthening parental rights in child’s abortion advances

By Taylor Brown
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – A bill that would change the process of a minor getting an abortion passed out of the House on Tuesday.  

“I think at the end of the day, this is solid. It’s good public policy. And keep in mind, we are talking about 13, 14 and 15-year-old girls,” Rep. Matthew Lehman, R-Berne, said.

Lehman argued that parental involvement in important in big decisions. He said parents should know about their minor getting an abortion, especially if a judge thinks the minor is too young to make this kind of decision.

The bill would require that before a minor can have an abortion their parent, legal guardian or custodian accompanying the minor must give written consent, proof of identification and evidence of the relationship.

Under current Indiana law, anyone under 18 must have the consent of a parent, legal guardian or custodian to get an abortion. To avoid the parental consent provision, minors may seek a judicial bypass, putting the decision in a judge’s hands.

The bill would also require that the courts to notify parents of the minor’s decision to pursue a judicial bypass unless the judge thinks that it is unsafe to do so. If notified, parents would be able to petition in court or appeal the court’s decision. The author of the bill, Sen. Erin Houchin, R-Salem, said previously that this bill is an effort to strengthen parental rights.

However, Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, warned representatives Tuesday that passing this legislation wouldn’t stop young women from going across state lines to receive an abortion. She argued this bill will force girls into having children they do not want. She also disliked that the bill took away the minor’s decision to tell her parents she is pregnant.

“Don’t have a judge send them a letter to let them know that in fact their daughter is pregnant,” Lawson said. “It’s wrong and shouldn’t happen.”

Senate Bill 404 passed out of the House 75-23 with seven Democrats voting in favor of the bill and one Republican voting against it.

The legislation will now return to the Senate for Houchin to review the changes made by representatives.

Taylor Brown is a reporter for TheStatehouuseFiile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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