Pennsylvania Supreme Court Vacates Trial Court’s Denial of a Minor’s Application to Obtain an Abortion

On December 22, 2011, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated a trial court’s denial of a minor’s judicial bypass application—an application to obtain an abortion without parental consent. The court held that appellate courts must deferentially review a trial court’s denial of a minor’s petition for judicial bypass. Second, the court held that a trial court may not rely on a minor’s failure to seek her parents’ consent when determining whether she has the requisite maturity and capacity to consent to an abortion. This case is a modest win for pro-life advocates because of its command that appellate courts deferentially review judicial bypass denials. From a national perspective, states with similar judicial bypass statutory regimes may look to this decision when determining what level of appellate review to apply.

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