Virginia Parental Consent Law Goes Into Effect

Judge Michael Luttig of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled U.S. District Judge James C. Turk on the evening of June 30, just hours after Turk had blocked enforcement of Virginia’s Parental Consent Law. Luttig’s decision allows the law to go into effect. Physicians performing abortions on minors are now required to make sure a parent of the girl is informed at least 24 hours before the procedure. Planned Parenthood, who brought suit to block enforcement of the law, claimed that the legislature omitted three key provisions that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled are mandatory when passing state parental-consent laws. These provisions are: that states guarantee confidentiality to teenage women who ask judges to waive the requirement, that states ensure a speedy verdict from the judges, and that states require judges to grant the medical procedure automatically if a girl proves that she is “mature.” Planned Parenthood plans to appeal Luttig’s decision to an appeals circuit panel or to a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Currently, 39 states have parental consent laws. In seven states, federal courts have blocked the laws; one state court has blocked the law; and four states do not enforce the law.


Washington Post- July 1, 1997

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