The extent to which a state can constitutionally legislate concerning abortion has been debated and litigated since the Supreme Court rendered its controversial Roe v. Wade decision which recognized that a woman's fundamental right to privacy under the Constitution encompasses the decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. The constitutional questions become more complicated when the state regulates a minors access to abortion due to the unique status of female minors. Although such minor's are biologically capable of conception and childbirth, they are also potentially vulnerable and lack maturity in making informed choices regarding critical matters, such as whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. These factors are not present when an adult exercises her constitutional right to an abortion. However, such factors necessitate that parental rights and the state's important interest in safeguarding the welfare of minors both be considered when a minor seeks to terminate her pregnancy.
Gail H. Miller,
H. L. v. Matheson: Can Parental Notification be Required for Minors Seeking Abortions?,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol16/iss2/8