SCOTUS Overturns Appeals Court Upholding Abortion Without Parental Consent

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by Matthew Vadum at theepochtimes.com

The Supreme Court threw out a federal appeals court decision on March 20 that upheld the right of a minor to go to court for permission to pursue an abortion without notifying her parents.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was the sole member of the Supreme Court to file a dissenting opinion in the case, Chapman v. Doe, court file 22-312.

In the case, the court vacated the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit and remanded the case to that court with instructions to dismiss the proceeding as moot. Jackson objected to the specific manner in which this was done because it erased any precedential value the circuit court ruling may have had.

In the case, a pregnant minor, Jane Doe, visited her local courthouse to apply for a dispensation allowing her to bypass parental consent for the planned abortion. The office of the petitioner, Michelle Chapman, circuit clerk for Randolph County, Missouri, told her she couldn’t file a bypass petition without notifying a parent.

Doe got an abortion in Illinois after a court there authorized it, absent parental notification.

Doe filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal district court for damages, claiming that Chapman violated her 14th Amendment rights. Chapman took the position that she was immune to lawsuits because she followed a Missouri statute and a judge’s directions.

Chapman also claimed that Doe’s right to a bypass hearing wasn’t clearly established and that she therefore couldn’t have violated Doe’s rights.

In what was perceived as a victory for the pro-abortion movement, the district court ruled against Chapman, finding that the statute didn’t require prehearing notification of the minor’s parents to obtain judicial authorization for an abortion.

The 8th Circuit later determined that Doe’s claim must be allowed to proceed, finding that the right to bypass the parents was clearly established under the 14th Amendment.

But in September 2022, Chapman asked the Supreme Court to review the case after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, finding there was no right to abortion in the U.S. Constitution and returning the regulation of abortion to the states.

In its June 24, 2022, ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the high court also reversed a related 1992 precedent, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, which affirmed Roe and declared that a woman had a right to obtain an abortion before fetal viability without undue interference from the state.

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