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Parental consent loopholes closed as Texas Supreme Court hands down new judicial rules

Texas State Supreme Court

The Texas Supreme Court has released updated judicial bypass rules for minors’ abortions, affirming recent pro-life legislative reforms to prevent attempts to circumvent state parental involvement laws.

Texas law requires minors both notify and obtain consent from at least one parent before having an abortion, but pro-lifers have long lamented several aspects of the process which they contend pro-abortion forces abuse to render the law toothless.

In July, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law HB 3994, which prevents attorneys representing minors from cherry-picking judges sympathetic to abortion to hear their case and refiling denied petitions in other counties, requires abortionists and judges to report any suspicion that the minor has been subjected to abuse, and closes a loophole automatically granting bypasses that have gone two days without a judicial answer.

All these provisions have been incorporated into the new rules for judges’ handling of such cases, as well as raising the threshold for granting a bypass to the “clear and convincing evidence” standard, a higher burden of proof than the lower “preponderance of the evidence” standard by which such cases are often decided. The rules were handed down last Thursday and took effect the next day, but the public comment period remains open until April.

“Judicial Bypass Reform was one of Texas Right to Life’s top legislative priorities,” Texas Right to Life Legislative Director John Seago said of the latest development. “Pregnant teens will now be better protected due to Texas Right to Life’s legislative team, Pro-Life legislators who pushed for the strongest bill, and the new rules that closed the gaping loopholes in the bypass process.”

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