Alabama law requires that girls under the age of 18 must receive parental consent prior to receiving a legal and safe abortion.
In cases where this is not possible, the girl then must go on trial. An attorney is assigned to the fetus (a guardian ad litem) to ensure that the fetus’s rights are protected. It is unclear if Alabama’s girls (they are minors) are also given counsel.
“District Attorney Win Johnson and the executive director of the COPE Pregnancy Center in Montgomery, Lorie Mullins, both said at a press conference earlier this month that the child should be forced to deliver her baby against her will. They also said the girl would be a “perpetrator” of violence by going through with the abortion as if she were a murderer and not a victim of rape.”
In this particular instance, an Alabama judge ruled that the girl did not require parental notification to have her abortion (which is the law in the State of Alabama).
However, government officials intervened, attempting to force the child to give birth against her will.
“The girl was 13 weeks pregnant and had just completed fifth grade when she went before a family court judge, according to a court record. The judge approved the abortion on June 27, and the district attorney appealed the same day, arguing that the girl was too immature to make an informed decision. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals on July 12 ruled in favor of the girl.
Walker noted in a footnote of the ruling that, under the law, a girl seeking court permission for an abortion in Alabama could face both a lawyer for the fetus and “the chief prosecuting authority of the county in which the minor resides, empowered by the act to represent the state’s public policy to protect unborn life, and backed by substantial state resources.”
Marshall said the prosecutor in the 12-year-old’s case made her situation worse by delaying her ability to obtain an abortion as her pregnancy progressed into the second trimester.”
A U.S. magistrate judge struck down the law, asserting “the law imposes undue burdens on girls, violating their rights to a confidential proceeding by allowing the district attorney, witnesses and others to get involved in opposing her decision**.”**