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ACLU, ACLU NV and nonprofit sue state over Medicaid abortion ban. (Photo: ACLU)

Lawsuit Seeks to Enforce Parental Notification for Minors Seeking An Abortion

Although Nevada has a parental notification statute, an injunction has remained in place since 1985

By Megan Barth, December 5, 2023 2:51 pm

Parental notification for minor girls seeking an abortion was passed overwhelmingly by a bipartisan legislature and signed into law  in 1985 by Democratic governor Richard Bryan.  NRS 442.255 and NRS 442.2555 require one-parent notification with an optional judicial bypass for those situations where a teen feels endangered.

The parental-notice law requires that a custodial parent or guardian be notified before a physician performs an abortion on an unmarried or unemancipated minor unless the physician believes “an abortion is immediately necessary to preserve the patient’s life or health.” But the minor may seek a judicial bypass, in which case notice would not be required if she proves (a) “she is mature enough to make an intelligent and informed decision; (b) she is “financially independent or emancipated,” or (c) the notice “would be detrimental to her best interests.”

Although Nevada has a parental notification statute, the statute was enjoined soon thereafter as part of the Glick v McKay case decided by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The law was found unconstitutional and the injunction has remained in place.

A minor girl can get an abortion in Nevada without a parent knowing or consenting, regardless of age. As Nevada is the number one state for human trafficking, Nevada Right to Life released this statement regarding the necessity of parental notification:

The problem of adult male predators illustrates the vital importance of having parental involvement laws in every state. Not only do parental involvement laws enable parents to help their daughter with her pregnancy, but they also bring to the light the often illegal and detrimental situation in which the pregnancy arose. Parental involvement laws protect minor girls from adult predatory males. Abortion enables adult men to protect themselves by covering up their misconduct, which in turn allows them to continue to prey on minors.

Yesterday, Nevada’s federal court was asked (see below) to lift its order barring enforcement of Nevada’s requirement that parents of minors seeking abortion be notified before any abortion. The request was made in a motion by Jason D. Woodbury, Carson City District Attorney, and Stephen B. Rye, Lyon County District Attorney. The case is Glick v. Ford.

The attorneys argue that the Glick order should be lifted because it was based on a federal abortion right that no longer exists. The 2022 Dobbs decision overruled Roe v Wade, therefore “halting enforcement has lost its basis and should be lifted.”

Parental notification laws throughout the U.S. (Photo: Nevada Right To Life)

Moreover, they contend that under Roe, parental-notification laws were permitted.

James Bopp, Jr., of The Bopp Law Firm, PC, and counsel for district attorneys Woodbury and Rye, says: “Laws requiring parental notification for minors seeking abortion have long been upheld even under Roe v. Wade. With Roe overruled, there is no reason why Nevada’s parental-notification law should not be enforced. And notifying parents is vital to protecting both parents and their pregnant daughters.”

Melissa Clement, Executive Director of Nevada Right to Life, says “an overwhelming majority of Nevadans support commonsense, time-tested parental involvement laws. Parents are the rightful decision-makers for their children’s medical decisions. It is time the courts restore parental rights.”

Glick Motion for Relief with COS (Dec. 1 2023)
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Megan Barth
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