News Release: Michigan Catholic Conference Urges Enactment of Parental Consent Legislation

January 22, 2004

LANSING—In an effort to ensure that parental rights are maintained regarding abortion for minors, the Michigan Catholic Conference today is urging Governor Granholm’s signature of House Bill 4478, legislation sponsored by state Rep. Bill O’Neil (D-Allen Park).

“This legislation is a practical measure which ensures parental rights are being honored and requires the appeals process to work just as any other judicial case,” said Sister Monica Kostielney, R.S.M., president and C.E.O. of the Michigan Catholic Conference. “The practice of judge-shopping undermines the judicial process as we know it and must be ended. House Bill 4478 is sound and reasonable legislation that deserves to be enacted by the state.”

House Bill 4478 amends the Parental Consent Law of 1990, for which the Michigan Catholic Conference diligently advocated, so that a minor cannot file a petition for waiver of parental consent in the Family Division of Circuit Court if she has previously been denied a waiver concerning the same pregnancy.

While the legislation has no implication on whether or not a minor can acquire an abortion, numerous judges who witnessed first-hand “judge-shopping” cited the bill’s necessity. HB 4478, which was enrolled by the House today, requires a minor to take her case to an appeals court rather than “shop” for a judge who would approve a previously defeated parental consent waiver.

“The Parental Consent Law is pivotal towards ensuring teenage girls are making the wisest decision in an otherwise extremely difficult period,” said Sister Monica. “Representative O’Neil deserves to be commended for his work on this legislation.”

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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