Friday, February 18, 2011

Life Links 2/18/11

Pennsylvania newspapers have requested information about a court case where a minor was denied a parental consent waiver be open to the public.
Last March, a pregnant teenager three months shy of her 18th birthday asked an Allegheny County judge if she could have an abortion without her parents' consent.

Judge Philip Ignelzi said no.

His denial launched a legal battle in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that could change a state law that has allowed teenagers to obtain abortions without their parents' permission since it took effect in 1983......

The high court's decision to review the case, including whether the law requires parental consent, has galvanized groups on both sides of the abortion issue.

It also has prompted a petition from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and several other media companies to make the court decision public.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has released two opinions which could prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving state family planning funds.
The rulings stem from a request made by Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, who has not hidden his desire to get Planned Parenthood clinics out of the state's Women's Health Program. Deuell says the 2005 law that created the program should exclude them already. It says that participating clinics can't "perform or promote election abortions" or be "affiliates" of those that do.

But HHSC has for years overlooked the rule, fearing that barring Planned Parenthood clinics might be unconstitutional. After Deuell asked the AG for an opinion, HHSC Commissioner Tom Suehs sent in his own request for an opinion, asking the AG if HHSC had the authority to define the term "affiliate."

Abbott says there's no constitutional problem, and that the state is within its rights to exclude certain types of providers from Medicaid programs. He also said HHSC is within its rights to define the word "affiliate."

An Indiana county has settled a lawsuit with traveling abortionist George Klopfer.
The law, known as the Patient Safety Ordinance, requires doctors who practice in Allen County but don’t live there to designate a local backup doctor, so that doctor can treat patients who experience complications.....

Klopfer sued, arguing the enforcement provisions – which required patients to sign a form saying they had been given contact information for the backup doctor – violated privacy statutes because the ordinance allowed county officials to inspect the forms.

County Commissioner Nelson Peters, who championed the law, said the settlement keeps all the key provisions of the law in place, but drops the ability of county officials to inspect the forms.

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