ACLU and Planned Parenthood Applaud Court Decision Striking Idaho's Third Attempt at Restricting Teenagers' Access to Abortion

July 1, 2005 12:00 am

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BOISE, ID — The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood Federation of America today applauded a court decision striking Idaho’s third attempt at enforcing a dangerous measure restricting teenagers’ access to abortion.

“We are thrilled with today’s decision,” said Marty Durand, Legislative Counsel of the ACLU of Idaho. “One can only hope that after three court decisions, the legislature will take the hint and stop passing laws that jeopardize young women’s health and safety.”

The law in question would have prevented teens under 18 from having an abortion unless they receive the written consent of a parent or a court waiver of that requirement. Although slightly modified from two earlier versions already struck down by the courts, the law at issue in today’s decision suffered from two flaws previously declared unconstitutional: It compromised the confidentiality of teens who need emergency abortions, and of teens seeking a waiver of the parental consent requirement.

“The court did what the legislature refused to do,” said Rebecca Poedy, President of Planned Parenthood of Idaho. “It established that the safety of Idaho teens is more important than a political agenda.”

In today’s decision, the court emphasized the dangerous consequences the measure could have on the health of Idaho’s teens, “[The law’s] chilling effect could be substantial enough to cause the mature minor to forego the emergency procedure even if it threatened her life.”

In March, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Idaho’s request to review a lower court’s ruling striking down an earlier version of the law because it endangered teenagers’ health. The legislature responded by enacting yet another law, one that incorporates provisions nearly identical to those previously declared unconstitutional. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU filed suit against the new measure in April.

Today’s case is Planned Parenthood of Idaho v. Wasden, Case No. CV05-148-S-BLW. Lawyers on the case include Louise Melling and Chakshu Patel of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, Helene Krasnoff and Roger Evans of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Alan Herzfeld for the ACLU of Idaho Foundation.

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood brief in the case is available online at:

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