Beginning November 1, most teens who seek an abortion in Oklahoma will not be able to do so without notifying a parent, as part of two new state laws passed this legislative session that will make Oklahoma one of the most hostile states for minors who seek abortions and their parents.
One new law requires parents of minors who seek abortions to present government-issued identification and “written documentation that establishes he or she is the lawful parent of the pregnant female,” while the second mandates that unless a minor who has obtained a judicial bypass to obtain an abortion can prove that her pregnancy is the result of incest, her abortion provider must notify a parent that an abortion has been performed.
“Obviously if a judge grants a bypass, the judge is saying there is good reason to believe the parents should not be involved,” Martha Skeeters, president of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, told RH Reality Check. Skeeters warned that the new law could put vulnerable teens in danger. Because judicial bypasses are often granted when a teen is in an abusive or hostile home situation, “it is easy to see that the teen may be exposed to abuse, punitive action, or humiliation” once her parent or parents are notified, she said.
The laws will go into effect following the Oklahoma State Board of Health’s adoption of new paperwork meant to implement HB 1588, which mandates parental notification except in cases of incest, and HB 1361, which mandates that minors seek judicial bypasses in their home counties and implements the stricter identification requirements for parental consent. HB 1361 also requires judges to ensure that teens meet more requirements to prove their maturity in order to obtain a judicial bypass.
“Quite ironically, the legislature seems to be saying that an immature teen cannot have an abortion but can become a parent,” said Skeeters.
Earlier this month, the Nebraska Supreme Court refused to waive parental consent requirements for abortion requested by a 16-year-old ward of the state, effectively ruling that the teen was mature enough to parent, but not mature enough for an abortion procedure.