Judge nixes state law putting pregnant girls through trial
MONTGOMERY | A federal judge has struck down Alabama’s one-of-a-kind law that enabled judges to put minors seeking abortions through a trial-like proceeding in which the fetus could get a lawyer and prosecutors could object to the pregnant girl’s wishes.
Alabama lawmakers in 2014 changed the state’s process for girls who can’t or won’t get their parents’ permission for an abortion to obtain permission from a court instead.
The new law empowered the judge to appoint a guardian ad litem “for the interests of the unborn child” and invited the local district attorney to call witnesses and question the girl to determine whether she’s mature enough to decide.
Magistrate Judge Susan Russ Walker sided Friday with the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, writing that the law unconstitutionally and impermissibly imposes “an undue burden on a minor in Alabama who seeks
an abortion through a judicial bypass,” and violates a girl’s privacy rights by enabling a prosecutor to call witnesses against her will.
Both the judge and the ACLU said they were aware of no other state with such a law.