Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Injudicious Bypass

After an often ineloquent debate between State Affairs Committee members and Rep. King regarding his HB 1212, shortly before midnight Wednesday Professor Albright from the University of Texas Law School alleviated some of the concern raised from misinterpretations and contradictions in earlier testimony. HB 1212 would require a minor seeking an abortion to obtain a written affidavit of consent from one parent or guardian before she could have an abortion. Albright says the bill is unconstitutional and might not stand up to the challenge. Here are some of her major points:

Absolute Veto- Current Texas law already requires a minor to notify her parent or guardian of her intention to have an abortion. Parental notification is not considered an undue burden under the law, but a parent cannot have an absolute veto. (Earlier this evening Rep. King misspoke saying a parent would have absolute veto).

Expedition Process-this is why we have 2-day procedure. An abortion is a very time sensitive matter. Often women don’t know that they are pregnant for sometime, and prolonging the time they have to wait to get the bypass means a 1st trimester abortion could become a 2nd trimester abortion. HB 1212 would increase the number of days the court had to hold a hearing from two to five—further delaying the procedure.

Confidentiality- the Supreme Court has said it is extremely important that a minor maintains anonymity in judicial procedures to protect the interest of the minor. Current law allows a minor to apply for a judicial bypass in any Texas county. Rep. King wants to require a minor to apply for a bypass in her home county or an adjoining county.