ACLU and Planned Parenthood Ask Court to Block Idaho’s Third Attempt at Restricting Teenagers’ Access to Abortion

Affiliate: ACLU of Idaho
October 4, 2006 12:00 am

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SAN FRANCISCO — The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood Federation of America argued in court today that Idaho’s third attempt at restricting teenagers’ access to abortion is dangerous and should remain unenforceable.

“We all want our daughters to come to us but what is most important is that they are safe,” Rebecca Poedy, President of Planned Parenthood of Idaho. “If we really cared about protecting teens we wouldn’t put up roadblocks to safe and confidential care.”

The law in question would prevent teens under 18 from having an abortion unless they receive the written consent of a parent or a court waiver of that requirement. Although slightly modified from two earlier versions already struck down by the courts, the law at issue today suffers from two flaws previously declared unconstitutional: it fails to protect the confidentiality of teens who need emergency abortions, or of teens who go to court to ask a judge’s permission to have an abortion.

“The legislature has once again ignored the courts and passed a law that jeopardize teens’ health and safety,” said Louise Melling, Director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “It is time to say ‘enough is enough.’”

Argument in the case was heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In July 2005, a lower court struck the law noting the dangerous consequences the measure could have on the health of Idaho’s teens: “[The law’s] chilling effect could be substantial enough to cause the mature minor to forego the emergency procedure even if it threatened her life.”

Today’s case is Planned Parenthood of Idaho v. Wasden, Case No. CV05-148-S-BLW. Lawyers on the case include Melling of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, Helene Krasnoff and Roger Evans of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Alan Herzfeld for the ACLU of Idaho Foundation.

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