Web Site to Help Minors Seek Abortion

January 24, 2001 12:00 am

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DALLAS, TX– A group of Texas lawyers and civil-rights advocates has launched an online organization to help underage girls obtain legal permission for abortions, the Associated Press reported.

According to the AP, the debut of Jane’s Due Process at www.janesdueprocess.org was unveiled on the 28th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade and comes a year after the state barred abortions for minors unless a parent is notified first.

“If people truly believe this is a good law, then they’re going to understand that there’s a group to make sure that it’s going to be applied fairly,” said Diana Philip of Dallas, a group founder and former official with the Dallas affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU opposes laws that restrict minors’ access to abortion. Such laws deny teenagers their fundamental right to reproductive choice and have led pregnant teens to attempt to abort their own fetuses, to have abortions by unlicensed and incompetent providers, and even to attempt suicide.

Texas’s parental notification law requires abortion providers to notify a pregnant girl’s parent before performing the procedure. However, if a girl believes she cannot tell a parent, she can ask a judge for permission.

A girl under the age of 18 must prove that she’s mature enough to make that decision or demonstrate that she would suffer abuse if a parent knew about her pregnancy.

Susan Hays, a Dallas lawyer who is president of Jane’s Due Process, said lack of information about the new law and the lack of a clean route of access between girls and attorneys prompted her to form the group with Philip.

“These young women have a right to due process when they go to court, and they have a constitutional right to decide when they become a parent,” she said.

The group plans to distribute fliers for abortion providers to hand out to underage pregnant girls. The fliers include the group’s toll-free number, 1-866-www-jane (1-866-999-5263).

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