FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/11/2013
REP. MATT KRAUSE FILES BILL TO CLOSE JUDICIAL BYPASS LOOPHOLES THAT ALLOW MINORS
REP. MATT KRAUSE FILES BILL TO CLOSE JUDICIAL BYPASS LOOPHOLES THAT ALLOW MINORS TO HAVE AN ABORTION WITHOUT ANY PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT
AUSTIN, TEXAS - Last Friday, Rep. Matt Krause filed H.B. 3302, which would close loopholes in our current judicial bypass system that has enabled many minors to have an abortion without any parental involvement.
"No major medical decision of a minor child should be made without the involvement and guidance of a parent or guardian," said Rep. Matt Krause. "Besides the need for love and support during such an emotionally difficult time, minors are ill-equipped to undertake a life-changing procedure alone--they typically do not know the full extent of their medical history, allergies, and without their parents' involvement there is no one available in the advent of a medical emergency following the abortion."
In 1999, The Texas Legislature passed S.B. 30--Texas Parental Notification Law (Chapter 33, Family Code)-- marking the first step to protecting the rights of parents. This law requires that one parent or guardian be notified of his or her pregnant, unemancipated minor daughter’s intent to seek an abortion; the notice may be provided in person (with no proof of parenthood or guardianship), by telephone, or by certified mail. The 1999 Parental Notification Act includes the judicial bypass option, which is currently in desperate need for revision, as it does not consider whether the girl’s best interest includes involving her parents.
In 2005, amendments were added to S.B. 419 that added the statutory language of consent in addition to notification (Chapter 164.052(a)(19), Occupations Code). These changes now require that the abortion facility secure notarized consent from a parent or guardian before a minor undergoes an abortion. While the 2005 efforts were intended to protect minors, the judicial bypass provision and all its loopholes remain intact, thereby jeopardizing the health and safety of pregnant minor girls by preventing the involvement of well-meaning, loving parents.
The current judicial bypass is unparalleled in its weaknesses and loopholes:
• The court petition may be filed anonymously with no traces to the minor and no record of her intent to seek an abortion or her appearance in court;
• The minor and/or her attorney may file the petition in any venue or county in Texas;
• An attorney ad litem (often furnished by the abortion facility or affiliated legal aid) may also serve as the guardian ad litem for the minor in court;
• The minor/her attorney may assume the bypass was granted if a judge does not rule within 48 hours of the hearing;
• If the bypass is denied, the attorney may file another petition in another court just minutes later on the same day;
• An attorney may file simultaneous petitions until a desired court/judge is assigned to hear the bypass;
• The minor need only fulfill one of four options in order to “prove” that she needs an abortion without the involvement of her parents: 1) she must be “mature” enough, 2) she must believe that parental involvement is not in her best interest, 3) she must believe that involving her parent may lead to physical or emotional abuse, or 4) parental involvement may lead to sexual abuse.
Because of these gaping loopholes, abortion facilities have egregiously abused this judicial bypass, rushing minors through the court system, often appointing the facility’s own attorneys to speak for minors in court. With the abortion facility’s guidance and the ability to "shop" a decision amongst judges, pregnant teens are able to conceal the pregnancy and the abortion entirely from their parents.
"The judicial bypass--while well-intended--is currently written so poorly that many loving parents or guardians are not involved in such an irreversible and important decision in their child's life," continued Rep. Matt Krause. "I think the Legislature needs to clean up the judicial bypass system to maximize parental involvement, while also respecting the need to protect minor girls from any harm should there exist a potential threat."
Contact: Elliott Griffin (512) 463-0562