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New Ohio law restricts access to judicial bypass of abortion notification

Ohio, much like Florida, now has a law on the books making it more difficult for young women to access a bypass of the state’s parental notification for abortion law. Accessible judicial bypass provisions provide young women with an effective way to bypass the law if they fear they will be abused or kicked out of their homes if a parent finds out they were seeking an abortion.

Florida — and now Ohio — have made these services less accessible.

RH Reality Check reports:

Late last week, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed yet another anti-choice bill into law, this time restricting a teen’s ability to get an abortion with a judicial bypass versus informing her parents. Judges now have new questions to ask, need to check to see if a teen was “coached” on her answers, and the teen can only go to a judge in her home district. Considering the amount a girl would need to then travel to have the procedure done, as well as the waiting period involved, the new restrictions will make them wait even longer to get an abortion if approved.

Also to be determined by the judge? Whether a teen is emotionally mature enough to handle an abortion. Not to be determined by the judge? Whether she is emotionally mature enough to have to continue a pregnancy she doesn’t want.

Florida’s law similarly requires judges to lecture women. According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the law requires that judges “ask questions of the applicant that determine if she ‘has the ability to assess both the immediate and long-range consequences of [her] choices.’”

Another provision limits the way in which judges and courts consider each possible bypass — barring judges from considering the financial implications of delivering, caring for and raising a child, should the woman choose not to terminate her pregnancy. The ACLU argues that this particular provision “ties judges’ hands” because it restricts them from considering “any inability to adequately or safely provide for a child as a reason to grant a waiver of parental notice.”

Samantha Gordon of NARAL Pro-Choice America has told The Florida Independent that judicial bypasses are “pretty standard provisions.”

“Of the 44 states that have a law on the books,” she says, “all but two have judicial bypass provisions.”

However, until recently, very few states placed such onerous restrictions on their access.

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