New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, a life-long supporter of abortion rights, has stated that she plans to a sign a bill that would require unmarried NJ minors to obtain parental consent at least 48 hours before getting an abortion.
Whitman’s staff and supporters attest that Whitman intends to continue with her strong supporter of abortion rights. The Republican Pro-Choice Coalition’s national director, Lynn Grefe, commented, “This bill would pass with or without her signature, and therefore she used her considerable knowledge and understanding to insure that no teen will be harmed.”
The original bill included an exception for young women who could prove their parents had subjected them to abuse, cruelty, or neglect. It also allowed doctors to provide abortions when necessary due to a medical emergency that could cause death or the loss or serious impairment of a major bodily function.
At Whitman’s urging, the Assembly Judiciary Committee amended the bill so that the definition of a “parent” was not limited to biological or custodial parents, and so that sexual and physical abuse were included in the original bill’s definition of abuse. She also broadened those exceptions so that minors who are judged “mature enough” can obtain permission from a Superior Court judge instead of from their parent(s).
Whitman’s office has issued a statement asserting that the revised bill has been “vastly improved” and “strike(s) an appropriate balance between the legitimate needs of a woman and the rightful interests of her parents.”
Whitman’s critics claim that her decision to sign the parental consent bill was a politically-motivated yield to conservative Republicans.