Planned Parenthood and ACLU Applaud Decision by U.S. Supreme Court Refusing to Review Idaho Law Restricting Teenagers' Access to Abortion

Affiliate: ACLU of Idaho
March 28, 2005 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union today applauded a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear an appeal to a lower court ruling striking down an Idaho law restricting teenagers’ access to abortion.

“The Supreme Court’s decision finally brings this case to a close,” said Jack Van Valkenburgh, Executive Director of the ACLU of Idaho. “The appeals court found this law to be an extreme and dangerous measure obstructing teens’ access to emergency abortions. We are pleased that the law will remain enjoined.”

The law in question prevented teens under 18 from having an abortion unless they got the written consent of a parent or permission from a judge. Unlike the laws of more than two dozen states, Idaho’s exception for medical emergencies was so narrow that it would have prevented some very sick young women from getting the emergency care they need.

In July 2004, a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that the law was unconstitutional because it would “interfere with a woman’s choice to undergo an abortion procedure if continuing her pregnancy would constitute a threat to her health.”

“As the lower court recognized, the state should not be allowed to prevent teens with serious medical conditions from getting the healthcare they need in a timely and safe manner,” said Rebecca Poedy, President of Planned Parenthood of Idaho. “We are delighted that the Supreme Court has refused to reopen this case.”

Today’s case is Wasden v. Planned Parenthood of Idaho, Case No. 04-703. Lawyers on the case include Helene Krasnoff, Roger Evans, and Dara Klassel of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Jennifer Dalven and Louise Melling of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, and Newal Squyres and Mary York for the ACLU of Idaho Foundation.

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