West Virginia poet and activist Crystal Good testified at Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett about the difficulty of obtaining a judicial bypass to obtain an abortion at 16 years old.
Currently, 37 states require parental consent for minors seeking an abortion, but as Good noted in a recent video for Senate Democrats, for many minors seeking an abortion, parental guardians are also abusers. “I, like so many youth in this country, come from an abusive home,” Good said. “For me, it was sexual abuse.”
In 36 states, minors can request an abortion without parental consent from a judge, but the process often not only requires the judge’s discretion but also calls for minors to jump through the additional hoops of filing court documents, arguing their right to bodily autonomy in court, and missing further school in order to obtain permission to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Goode, now a mother of three, spoke of having to argue her case for an abortion in judge’s chambers by citing her good grades and opportunities she would have to pass up if forced to remain pregnant. She also testified about the added stress of being an abused child pleading with authorities for the right to control over her own body:
“The fate of my future — whether or not I would become a parent at 16 — rested in the hands of one judge. My journey to seek an abortion started first with making sure I had my homework done. I then had to navigate not only how to get to the judge but how to do so on a school day,” Good testified.
And even the scant options available for minors seeking abortions could soon be in danger. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has yet to give a definitive answer as to whether or not she would vote to overturn Roe V. Wade. However, Barrett’s involvement with an anti-abortion group called University Faculty for Life at Notre Dame and talks she gave in connection with the Right to Life group as a law professor at the university strongly indicate that Barrett may be sympathetic to cases seeking to undermine safe and legal access to abortion.