A federal judge struck down Alabama’s abortion law on Friday that requires minors who don’t receive parental permission to get court approval if they wish to have an abortion.
Judge Susan Walker ruled that the law puts an undue burden on minors in Alabama seeking an abortion without their parents’ permission, and that the law is an unconstitutional violation of privacy. The law encroaches on women’s rights, she argued, by bringing outside parties into the decision on whether to end the life of an unborn baby.
The 2014 law allowed judges to appoint a guardian to represent the interests of the unborn baby. It also asked that a local district attorney call the girl and a witness to the stand in order to determine if she was mature enough to make the decision to abort according to Alabama News. The Friday ruling comes after the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama (ACLU) filed a 2014 law suit on behalf of a “Reproductive Health Services” abortion clinic in Montgomery, Alabama.
The state said that the law was meant to investigate whether a young girl seeking an abortion was mature enough to make a decision of such gravity, and maintained that the requirement was a “confidential, and expeditious option for a teenager who seeks an abortion without parental consent.”
State Judge Walter Mark Anderson recalled a young girl who after having an abortion told the judge, “I wish that somebody had protected my baby” according to Mother Jones. Anderson appointed lawyers for unborn babies from 1999 until 2004 when he lost reelection.
The judge as well as the ACLU disagreed with the state, saying that the law was simply an opportunity for friends, neighbors, boyfriends, or relatives to achieve whatever outcome they desired. The ACLU also said that requiring consent from an appointed guardian often prolonged cases, causing young girls to carry their babies longer than necessary while they waited for a decision from the court.
“The very teens who find it necessary to seek judicial bypass are often vulnerable and could be subject to physical and mental abuse if it became known they are pregnant and seeking an abortion,” said the concerned ACLU Alabama executive director, Randall Marshall.
A state attorney general spokesperson said the office is reviewing the decision according to NBC News.
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