Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Michigan Senate Committee approves legislation to stop judge shopping for parental consent waiver

On June 18, the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee approved, by a 3-1 vote, legislation designed to prevent minors seeking abortion without parental consent from "judge shopping." 

Minor girls who have been denied a judicial bypass at one court would not be permitted to seek a bypass at another county court. S.B. 254 also creates guidelines for judges in making a determination regarding the maturity of the girl seeking an abortion, and her best interests. These guidelines are consistent with the line of questioning recommended by the Michigan Benchbook, and include taking into consideration whether the minor girl’s parents have neglected or abused her.

Rebecca Mastee of the Michigan Catholic Council, in written testimony submitted to the committee, told lawmakers that SB 254 was a practical measure that should not be controversial.

"This legislation has no implication on whether or not a minor girl can acquire an abortion," she said, "but rather ensures that necessary safeguards are in place to both protect her and ensure that parental rights are maintained."