Judge nixes state law putting preg­nant girls through trial

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION -

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.

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