American Journal of Law & Medicine

Nebraska Supreme Court Rules a Minor in Foster Care Seeking an Abortion Must Obtain Foster Parents Consent - in Re Anonymous 5

In a per curiam decision, the Nebraska Supreme Court held that for the purposes of Nebraska's Abortion Consent Law, a sixteen-year-old female must obtain consent from her foster parents before she can choose to obtain an abortion, despite her legal status as a ward of the State of Nebraska. (2)

Nebraska's Abortion Parental Consent Law requires minors seeking an abortion to obtain the written consent of one of her parents or a legal guardian. (3) While the United States Supreme Court has upheld the rights of states to pass such parental consent laws, they have also required the laws to include certain exceptions. (4) For example, in Belotti v Baird, the Court held that a state must include a judicial bypass whereby a minor can seek judicial permission to forgo parental consent. (5) When granting permission, a judge must consider and determine whether the minor is sufficiently mature to obtain an abortion, or that an abortion would be in her best interest. (6)

Nebraska's Parental Consent Law seemingly satisfies this constitutional standard by providing three types of "judicial bypass." (7) These include "medical emergency," "victim of abuse," and "mature minor" exceptions to the parental consent requirement. (8) In this case, the Petitioner contended that she does not need to obtain consent because she is a victim of abuse from her biological parents and that she is sufficiently mature to proceed with the abortion without parental consent. …

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