Former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson and the organization And Then There Were None, which Johnson created to help abortion workers leave the industry, held a webcast with former abortion workers on December 21, 2016. In this webcast, the workers discussed ways in which their facilities put women at risk. For example, one abortion worker described how her facility never called an ambulance when women were hurt. The directors of the facility did not want to scare the other patients or let pro-lifers to get pictures of ambulances outside their doors. The webcast also covered ways abortion facilities are able to evade regulations.
At one point in the 2016 webcast, Abby Johnson and former abortion worker Margo discussed how minors are able to get abortions without their parents’ knowledge even in states that have parental notification or consent laws. Abortion facilities will perform multiple different types of abortions on teens, including D&E abortions, described by Dr. Levatino — a former abortionist — below:
When parental notification/consent laws were found constitutional by the Supreme Court in 1990 in Hodgson v. Minnesota, a requirement was put forth by the court. Teens who did not want to notify their parents had to be given the option of a judicial bypass. A judicial bypass process requires a pregnant minor to go before a judge and convince him/her that she is mature enough to make her own decision about abortion or, failing that, that abortion is in her best interest. The judge is supposed to weigh the facts of the case and make a decision. In reality, the hearings are often a rubber stamp process.
As Abby Johnson says:
[I]n states where it is the judicial [bypass], we know that those are just rubber stamped for these young women. So what that means is that a 13-year-old girl could go and see a judge in a secret court proceeding where her parents will never know she’s having an abortion. The school counselor can take her one day, her parents could drop her off at school, the school counselor or school nurse could take her to the abortion clinic where she would have the abortion. The school counselor or nurse [would take her] back to school where her parents would pick her up at 3:30 in the afternoon, and the parents would have absolutely no idea that their grandchild had just been killed in the name of choice. They would have no idea that their little girl was just lying on a surgical exam room table having a very invasive surgical procedure. That is the reality of abortion law in the United States. …. The judges just stamp it and say approved and these women go in to have an abortion….and they don’t have any parental involvement.
Margot explained that her abortion facility helped arrange judicial bypass hearings for minors who came to them. She says:
I do not believe that any of the minors who came to our clinic seeking help to get the judicial bypass were ever declined.
The judicial bypass option was intended to provide an emergency measure for minors whose parents were abusive. In practice, the bypasses aren’t restricted to abusive situations by any means.
In a New York Times article entitled “Under Din of Abortion Debate, an Experience Shared Quietly”, abortionist Tom Tvedten says:
If you go to the judge and say, ‘I’m afraid to tell my parents because they might harm me,’ that’s all you need to say. It doesn’t have to be true, because how would anybody know?
Tvedten had been committing abortions for twenty years at the time of the 2005 interview.
Despite the ease with which minors were able to get around the parental notifications law, Tvedten still complained about the legislation:
But every time a restriction is placed on us, it increases our costs, and that cost is passed on to the consumer.
In the pursuit of profit, parental notification laws are an inconvenience for abortionists. But they do not stop minors from having abortions without parental knowledge.
Even as far back as the 1980s, many judicial bypass requests were rubber stamped. For example, from 1981 to 1986, Minnesota judges granted all but 15 of the 3573 petitions for abortions without parental notification.
Why do teens have abortions without telling their parents? One study found that the three most common reasons teens gave were, in order: “Didn’t want to hurt or disappoint parent,” “Thought parent would be angry at me,” and “Didn’t want parents to know I was having sex.”
Abby Johnson speaks about the irony that minors can get abortions without parental knowledge, but cannot use tanning beds or get their ears pierced without parental consent:
And the thing is, a lot of these young kids, my goodness, my daughter, she can’t go get her ears pierced without my consent, if she’s under the age of 18. She can’t go lay in a tanning bed if she’s under the age of 18. But she could go through a judicial bypass process where it could be rubberstamped approval and she could go and have an abortion without my knowledge, and that is so scary, and that is a reality of what we are seeing inside of the abortion clinics. These young girls – they don’t even have the comprehension to really understand what was taking place even if it was explained to them.
All too often, the judicial bypass option makes parental rights null and void. Follow this link for more information on what teens need to know about abortion. A factsheet about how abortion affects teens is available here.