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Parental Consent in Nebraska

In a Nebraska courtroom in October, a 16-year-old living in foster care due to abuse was forced to go before an anti-choice judge to get permission for a legal abortion – and was denied.

It’s clear from the moment that Emily* pled her case that Judge Peter Bataillon had no intention of giving her a fair trial. Before he deemed her too immature to make this decision about her future, he told Emily that an abortion would “kill the child inside” her. Judge Bataillon’s indefensible conduct is backed up by a history of personal anti-choice activism. He defended Operation Rescue protesters and helped them beat criminal charges, and he was the president of a Right to Life group in Omaha.

We’ve never seen a clearer conflict of interest. Judge Bataillon should not have ruled on Emily’s case. He willingly imposed his personal views to deny a woman her constitutional right to an abortion. 

Parental involvement laws like the one in Nebraska give power to judges to control women’s lives when a parent can't give permission. Of course, we all want our daughters to turn to their parents when they’re in trouble. But every family situation is different, and we need laws written to protect those who have nowhere else to turn.

Working with a local family-practice attorney named Sue Ellen Wall, NARAL Pro-Choice America filed a complaint asking the Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualifications to investigate this case and sanction Judge Bataillon. That complaint was joined by 86,849 petition signatures collected in partnership with RH Reality Check, CREDO Action, and MoveOn. A team of local NARAL activists on the ground in Nebraska delivered the petitions with Young Democrats of Nebraska, Bold Nebraska, and local progressive allies.

* Not her real name

Get Involved

  • Like this map to educate people about these laws that put young women’s futures in the hands of judges.
  • Check out the great coverage of our petition delivery in Lincoln, Nebraska and spread the world to your friends.

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