Idaho Gov. Signs Parental Consent Bill for Abortions

Girls under 18 in the state of Idaho will need permission before they can have an abortion under a bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Butch Otter.

The new law requires minor girls to obtain consent from a parent, guardian, or a judge's permission, prior to getting an abortion. Under pressing circumstances, a judge could approve the procedure in cases of incest, abuse, or a medical emergency.

"With the bill's emergency clause, this law is now in effect," stated David Ripley of Idaho Chooses Life in a press release. Idaho Chooses Life has been involved in the legislative fight to secure a Parent Consent Law for the past ten years.

"Hopefully the days are past when Planned Parenthood and others can prey upon Idaho's daughters," Ripley added.

The bill was the latest attempt by state lawmakers to require parental consent for minors' abortions. Courts had previously declared such laws unconstitutional.

Republican Senator Russ Fulcher, one of two lawmakers who championed the measure, said the new law is constitutional because it protects the anonymity of minors seeking abortions, where previous laws did not.

The new law, which takes effect July 1, 2007, is consistent with similar measures in other states proven effective in reducing the number of teen abortions. A recent study found that laws such as parental notification or consent reduced the abortion rate of teenage girls by more than 50 percent.

Dr. Michael New, assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama and author of the study, examined data from 1985 to 1999. He found states with parental-involvement laws in the 1990s resulted in a "dramatic decrease in the incidence of abortion among minors," according to In 1985 while 13.5 abortions were performed on minors for every 1,000 girls between the ages of 13 and 17, by 1999, the abortion rates for minors had fallen by over 50 percent to 6.5 per 1,000 teenage girls ages 13 to 17.