House approves ‘parental consent’ abortion law

Published 8:19 am Wednesday, March 5, 2014

On Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives approved HB494 by Rep. Mike Jones (R-Andalusia), which will toughen parental consent requirements for minors seeking an abortion. The measure passed with a vote of 82 to 18, according to a press release from the Office of House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

“This bill makes crystal clear a process that has been enforced inconsistently at best in the state of Alabama,” Jones said. “In instances where a minor is seeking an abortion, it is imperative that they fully understand the ramifications of their decision and prove that they are wholly aware of its impact.”

The bill provides for identification and documentation requirements when a minor seeks to have an abortion with the consent of a parent or legal guardian and when the consent form is signed by the minor and parent or legal guardian in the presence of the physician. The bill establishes that a parent may not coerce a minor into undergoing an abortion.

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The bill also helps clarify the judicial process if a minor seeks to have an abortion without parental or guardian consent. If a minor petitions the juvenile court in lieu of parental consent, their identity will be kept confidential by the court, and their case will take precedence with a ruling forthcoming within 48 hours of a petition being filed. The minor must demonstrate to the court that she understands the abortion procedure, is aware of alternatives, and has sufficient maturity for such a decision.

This bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.