Judging maturity in the courts: the Massachusetts consent statute.
This study examined the Case Summary Questionnaires completed by attorneys representing minors at judicial consent for abortion hearings in Massachusetts and filed with the Women's Bar Association. The 477 Case Summaries filed between December 1981 and June 1985 were analyzed to provide a more systematic account of how the judicial consent statute is applied in the courtroom. After hearings which typically lasted 12 minutes, only nine minors were judged immature. No evidence for a discernible pattern justifying these rulings emerged from an examination of petitioner and court characteristics such as age, length of hearing, number of weeks pregnant, or presiding judge. Further, 11 lawyers privately reported they found their clients immature. In only one instance, however, did the lawyer and judge identify the same adolescent. The findings add to a growing body or research that calls into question the ability of the consent statute to protect the best interest of the minors involved. (+info)
The impact of a parental notification law on adolescent abortion decision-making.
In 1984, we investigated the impact of a parental notification statue with judicial bypass procedures in Minnesota. Subjects were interviewed on the day of their abortion at four Minnesota and two Wisconsin clinics. Relatively few were aware of the statute in Minnesota. Parental notification rates were similar in Minnesota and Wisconsin, which has no parental notification statute. (+info)
Spousal veto over family planning services.
In many countries a spouse, usually the husband, can veto a partner's use of family planning services. Where spousal veto acts as a barrier to family planning services it represents a serious threat to the lives and health of women and children. Removal of spousal authorization requirements has been shown to increase the use of family planning services. The Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia, for example, removed their requirement in 1982 and clinic utilization increased by 26 per cent within a few months. Courts of several countries have held that spousal veto practices violate principles of personal privacy and autonomy and the right to health care. The effect of such judgements has been to reinforce rights to sexual nondiscrimination found, for example, in national constitutions and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. This article discusses the nature and application of spousal veto practices, explains how such requirements can violate certain human rights, and explores possible remedies to this problem, including ministerial, legislative, and judicial initiatives. (+info)
Parental consent for abortion: impact of the Massachusetts law.
This study assessed the impact of Massachusetts' parental consent law, which requires unmarried women under age 18 to obtain parental or judicial consent before having an abortion. Data were analyzed on monthly totals of abortions and births to Massachusetts minors prior to and following the April 1981 implementation of the law. Findings indicate that half as many minors obtained abortions in the state during the 20 months after the law went into effect as had done so previously. More than 1,800 minors residing in Massachusetts traveled to five surrounding states during these 20 months to avoid the statute's mandates. This group accounts for the reduction in in-state abortions. A small number of minors (50 to 100) bore children rather than aborting during 1982, perhaps because of the law. Findings suggest that this state's parental consent law had little effect on adolescent's pregnancy-resolution behavior. (+info)