After winning her second Michigan Court of Appeals case involving abortion, Levine & Levine attorney Sarissa Montague talked with Fox 17 about the legal process a young woman under 18 must go through to seek an abortion.
Michigan law requires parental consent in order for a minor to have an abortion. However, in cases where the parents don’t approve or where the minor may not have regular contact with parents, they may be granted the right to independently choose to have an abortion through a parental waiver.
In November, Montague won an appeal for her client, a minor, the right to a judicial waiver, which allows her to make her own choice to keep or terminate a pregnancy. The minor was originally denied by a lower court judge.
“The criteria that has been established is that a judge needs to find either that a young woman is sufficiently mature and well-enough informed to make the decision regarding an abortion independently of her parents,” Montague told Fox 17 during her Nov. 18 interview.
If the case is successful, it means the minor has the choice to decide if they would like to keep the pregnancy or terminate. The court order does not require them to have an abortion or make any other decision there and then.
“They’re going through a difficult time – we all know that. We all know these young women don’t want to be in the position that they’re in and it’s very scary to go to a lawyer. It’s very scary to go to a judge and sit in front of a judge and have to talk about issues that are really, really personal to them,” Montague said in her interview. “I think it’s just very important for everyone to understand there are legal procedures available in a number of different circumstances. This is one very, very small circumstance where there is a legal procedure available to help.”
The judicial waiver process takes no more than 10 days in total with the appeal also moving quickly.
Watch Montague’s full interview with Fox 17, here.