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May 12, 2005

Parental Consent Bill Tabled

By Byron LaMasters

Today was a rare good day in the Texas House for supporters of a woman's right to choose. House Democrats successfully stalled HB 1212 past the deadline for filing new bills with two sustained Points of Order this week. The Houston Chronicle reports:

House bill that would have required girls younger than 18 to get consent from one of their parents before having an abortion died Thursday because of a technical error.

Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, said he was disappointed his bill failed again this session. It failed when he filed it in 1999, 2001 and 2003. [...]

Current Texas law requires that parents of a minor be notified before their daughter has an abortion. A judge, however, can allow bypass of the notification.

Under King's bill, girls who did not want to involve their parents for fear of abuse or did not have parents who could give consent would have been able to seek judicial bypass. [..]

The bill also would have increased the evidence necessary to bypass parental involvement. Rather than just proving that abuse would be likely, as current law requires, girls would have to prove they would certainly be in harm's way.

Essentially, the King bill would increase the burden of proof on the victim of child abuse, rape, incest, etc. I thought that Republicans were for victim's rights - that is unless it relates to abortion.

Update: Kuff also brings the good news of the defeat of another bad bill - HB 1167.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at May 12, 2005 08:29 PM | TrackBack


Phil King really gets in my craw - anyone know what his problem is? Between this, trying to ban Municipal Wi-Fi and internet access in libraries, and banning, of all things, cloning, what is the connection?

Posted by: Brian Boyko at May 13, 2005 12:07 AM

Or, as it simply relates to parental rights.

Are doctors allowed to perform selective surgery on a minor in any instance without parental consent?

And once that girl turns 18, I'm solidly and 100% pro-choice on her decision to do what she wants.

First you won't let us execute murderers who happened to be under 18 the day they committed their horrendous crimes. The grounds? They are too young to know better...or as the Surpreme Court put it "less culpable".

But now you flip-flop and want to claim that 15 year old girls are old enough and responsible enough to make adult decisions.

Which is it? 18. It's the magical number.

Posted by: Robbie at May 13, 2005 08:13 AM

Pretty pathetic when a typo can kill a bill that is supported by the vast majority of Texans. Hopefully it will be revived in the senate.

Posted by: WG at May 13, 2005 09:59 AM

“But now you flip-flop and want to claim that 15 year old girls are old enough and responsible enough to make adult decisions”

In Texas girls under the age of 18 must notify their parents unless they get a judicial bypass. This law is in effect right now. What King’s bill would have done is placed an undue burden on girls whose lives are in danger and/or are victims of abuse to prove their case. The already have to go before a judge to plead their case and any number of things can happen before that. Clerks have been known to tell these girls they aren’t even allowed to talk to a judge, to purposefully misfile paper work, etc. According to Jane’s Due Process:

A minor who does not wish to have a parent or legal guardian notified that she intends to have an abortion must seek a judicial bypass hearing to determine:
• if she is mature and sufficiently well informed to make the decision to have an abortion performed without notice to a parent or legal guardian,
• if notification would not be in her best interest, or
• if notification may lead to physical, sexual or emotional abuse.

Texas doesn’t consider the average 15 year old capable of making this decision on her own except when there are extenuating circumstances. These girls are scared and already in enough trouble; there’s no need to make it as hard on them as King proposes.

Posted by: Laura D at May 13, 2005 02:58 PM
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