Attorney General Curtis Hill this week asked the full 11-member U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider and uphold Indiana’s requirement that parents be notified when their minor children seek abortions.
Indiana’s law provides that such notification be made unless a judge finds it would not be in the best interests of a minor seeking an abortion, such as if she resides with abusive family members.
The notification requirements apply specifically to minor children already deemed by a court to be sufficiently mature to make their own decisions regarding abortion, thereby exempting them from laws requiring they have parents’ outright consent to undergo the procedure.
Planned Parenthood has argued that minor children exempted from parental consent requirements are logically entitled to obtain abortions without their parents being notified. Indiana has maintained that merely notifying parents of planned abortions is distinct from obtaining their consent for the procedures.
In 2019, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of Indiana’s parental notice law. Following that decision, the court denied, by a vote of 6-5, Attorney General Hill’s petition for a hearing by the full 11-member court. Two judges who voted against en banc rehearing wrote that they voted as they did because only the Supreme Court could provide clarity in the constitutional standards applicable to abortion regulations.
In late June, however, the U.S. Supreme Court decided June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo, addressing the constitutional law of abortion. And on July 2, the High Court sent Indiana’s parental notice case back to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals for further consideration in light of the June Medical decision.
In this week’s filings, Attorney General Hill asks once again that the full 11-member U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals consider the Indiana parental notice requirement.
“We previously fell one vote short of receiving a hearing by the full court,” Attorney General Hill said. “The answers provided in the June Medical case should provide further impetus for such a hearing.”
States have a clear interest in protecting the rights of parents and the well-being of minors, Attorney General Hill said.
“Even when courts permit minors to obtain abortions without parental consent, those same parents still have rights and responsibilities for the care and upbringing of their daughters,” Attorney General Hill said. “As they love and care for their children, parents need to know what they have experienced. An abortion is a procedure that could have severe implications for future medical treatment. It is also a procedure that could bear on a child’s emotional needs and future mental health.”