Minors in Texas are required to obtain parental consent before getting an abortion. It is possible, however, for a small number of young women — less than 300 per year — to bypass this requirement through the court system. Under Texas law, judges can allow minors to obtain an abortion under limited circumstances, including situations where notifying a parent could “lead to sexual, physical, or emotional abuse.” The judicial bypass is difficult to obtain because it was written by conservatives who oppose abortion rights.
The Texas Senate spent Memorial Day further restricting abortion access for these teenage girls.
The bill in question, HB 3994, removes the specific provision that allows for judicial bypass when “notifying their parents could lead to physical, sexual or emotional abuse.” The sponsor of the bill, Charles Perry, says abuse issues could be brought up under another section of the bypass statute that allows for a judge to grant an abortion without parental consent if it’s in minor’s “best interest.” The change does appear to provide judges with additional leeway to deny an abortion even if seeking parental notification would result or likely result in abuse.
But, of course, this is to help minor women …
Republican sponsor Charles Perry deflected a dozen amendments from Democrats that would have loosened the restrictions. Perry said the significant changes to the so-called judicial bypass process are meant to clarify judicial issues and protect young women.
“This is, No. 1, for the minor’s benefit,” he said.
Opponents say the bill stifles the process established in 1999 that allows about 300 pregnant teenagers in Texas to terminate their pregnancy in extreme situations every year. It also unfairly harms young women when they most need help, opponents say.
“Is one of your goals to reduce abortions?” Democratic Sen. Kirk Watson asked Perry.
No, the Lubbock Republican replied.
But immediately after the vote, anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life posted on Twitter, “Another #ProLife victory in the State Senate.”
I know this has become cliche as of late, but, “I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit.”