Justia Civil Rights Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Pennsylvania Supreme Court
In the Interest of Jane Doe
The trial court in this case denied Jane Doe's (a minor) application for judicial authorization for an abortion, reasoning, in significant part, that because the minor did not seek parental consent she was not "mature and capable" of giving informed consent independently. The Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of judicial authorization, finding no abuse of discretion. In this appeal, the Supreme Court examined the standard of review applicable to the trial court's denial, and had to determine whether the trial court may, under Pennsylvania law, deny judicial authorization based upon the minor’s failure to obtain parental consent. Upon review of the particular facts of this case, the Supreme Court held that the appeal would be reviewed under the "abuse of discretion" standard. Additionally, the Court held that a trial court lacks statutory authority to deny a minor's petition based on her failure to obtain parental consent. Premised upon these conclusions, the Court vacate the order of the Superior Court, which affirmed the order of the trial court.