(Washington, D.C. – January 27, 2020)—Today, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a “friend of the court” brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a petition filed by Indiana officials asking the high court to review and reverse a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which halted the enforcement of Indiana’s parental-notice law.
The brief was filed on behalf of Priests for Life and Rachel’s Vineyard, the world’s largest ministry for healing after abortion.
Robert Muise, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, commented:
“Indiana’s parental-notice law promotes Indiana’s compelling interests in protecting the health, safety, and long-term welfare of minors who seek court-authorized abortions. Indiana’s notice law serves these interests by requiring parental consultation before a minor makes an irrevocable and profoundly consequential decision.”
In 2017, Indiana enacted a new requirement to its existing parental-notice law, providing that even where a juvenile court permits an abortion on a minor to go forward without parental consent, parents must still be given notice of the abortion unless the judge also finds such notice is not in the minor’s best interests. The statute does not provide an exemption to the notice requirement when the court only finds that the minor is mature enough to make her own abortion decision. Consequently, absent a “bests interests” showing, the statute requires that the minor’s attorney “shall serve the notice required by this subsection by certified mail or by personal service” and shall do so “before” the abortion.
The district court enjoined the law, and that decision was affirmed by the Seventh Circuit.
As argued in the brief, Indiana has a valid purpose for enacting this parental notice provision:
Notice will, for example, provide parents with critical aspects of their daughter’s medical history, give them context for any post-abortion mental or emotional distress their daughter may incur, and put them on notice that perhaps their daughter needs more guidance in her sexual behavior.
AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi added:
“Supporters of abortion, specifically including those who profit from it, often claim that they want abortion to be ‘safe, legal, and rare.’ Yet, as this and countless other cases demonstrate, their paramount concern is to keep abortion ‘legal,’ often rejecting any effort by the states to ensure that abortion is truly ‘safe’—of course, it is never ‘safe’ for the unborn child whose life is ended by the abortion—and further arguing that any regulation that might have the incidental effect of making abortion ‘rare’ is automatically declared unlawful. We are hopeful that the current justices of the Supreme Court will take up cases such as this in order to make clear that states have the authority to enact laws to protect their citizens, specifically including minors, from the harm caused by abortion.”
In further support of Indiana’s paramount right to regulate abortion to protect the safety, health, and welfare of its citizens—including Indiana’s right to enact parental-notice laws designed to protect minors—included in the appendix to AFLC’s brief is a sampling of the numerous testimonies of victims of abortion from Indiana and other states across the country—persons who have been harmed in a profound way by this deadly procedure.
AFLC believes that it is imperative that the Court hear the voices of these abortion victims because these testimonies demonstrate that what is needed is more regulations like those enacted by Indiana, not less. As argued in the brief, striking down Indiana’s law makes it harder to protect women such as these. Make no mistake, abortion is not only fatal to the unborn; it is exceedingly harmful to women as these testimonies vividly illustrate. And this harm will only be greater when the abortion victim is a minor.