Parental Consent Law Upheld in California

In a 4-3 decision, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday (4-4) to uphold a state law requiring minors to obtain consent from a parent or judge before having an abortion, marking the first time the Court has upheld a restriction on abortion rights since the state established a constitutional right to privacy in 1972. The Court ruled that the 1987 law, which has never been enforced due to legal challenges, does not violate minors’ constitutional right to privacy. In individual dissenting opinions, Justices Ronald George, Joyce Kennard and Kathryn Werdegar denounced the decision for endangering the health of young women.

Justice Armand Arabian, who voted with the majority, has retired since the case was argued in January, and since the vote was so close, the court might make a rare move and rehear the case. Arabian’s successor will be Justice Ming Chin, a San Francisco judge who supports the right to choose. The decision will not become final for 30 days.

The Feminist Majority Foundation has produced an award-winning video, Abortion Denied: Bettering Young Women’s Lives, which documents the devastating impact parental consent laws have on young women’s health.


The San Francisco Chronicle - April 5, 1996

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