The Nebraska Supreme Court refused to hear the girl’s appeal. Here’s the decision she was appealing.
After advising the girl that “when you have the abortion, it’s going to kill the child inside you,” lower court judge Peter Bataillon denied her request for a waiver. Bataillon, who according to RH Reality Check, had been an attorney for extremist anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, found that the girl was not mature and informed enough to make the decision to have an abortion. He also found that the girl should have sought consent from her foster parents, even though the girl’s foster parents are not her legal guardian and the state regulations governing the Department of Health and Human Services gives minors in its custody the right to consent to abortion, without seeking permission from the Department.
From Operation Rescue lawyer to judge… seems fair and impartial.
More from RHR, both about the case and about Bataillon.
After holding the minor to the same pleading standards as attorneys, then punishing her for failing to meet them, the justices continued to ignore the law that clearly states minors in state custody have the right to consent to abortion on their own, by stating that because of the 2011 change from parental notification to parental consent those regulations were no longer valid. Since that 2011 change, the department hasn’t issued any new regulations, meaning that the even if those regulations were still valid thanks to this decision they likely aren’t anymore.
With the issue of whether minors in state custody can consent to their own abortions now upended, that leaves the petitioner in this case, and future wards of the state in similar quandaries, with only the possibility of convincing a judge via a judicial bypass proceeding that she’s sufficiently mature enough to make the decision to terminate a pregnancy on her own. And we know how those decisions turn out for the minors involved.
Not surprisingly, the trial court judge has a history of anti-choice sympathies. In 1990, as a private attorney, Bataillon successfully defended 17 Operation Rescue protesters in Omaha against charges of clinic trespassing, by advancing a “necessity defense” and arguing their trespassing was necessary to prevent the “grave evil” of abortion. Scott Roeder tried unsuccessfully to advance a necessity defense during his trial for the murder of Dr. George Tiller. Three years later, Bataillon represented an anti-abortion activist accused of stalking an abortion provider including approaching him at an Omaha airport and telling him, “You deserve to be blown away.”
Extracts from the court filing and more references to Bataillon’s history here:
The trial court judge, Peter Bataillon, went against her at every turn, deciding that even though her biological parents had relinquished their parental rights, she still required a foster parent’s consent under the law; that the “victim of abuse” exception to the consent requirement only applied to abuse by one’s current parents, and not to the abuse she had suffered from her biological parents; and that she was insufficiently mature to make this decision without their consent.
Today’s 5-2 decision affirmed Judge Bataillon’s decisions on the facts and law, with much deference to his evaluation of this young woman’s maturity:
In evaluating her maturity, a trial court “‘may draw inferences from the minor’s composure, analytic ability, appearance, thoughtfulness, tone of voice, expressions, and her ability to articulate her reasoning and conclusions.’” The latter items are matters that we cannot discern from the cold record before us and are another reason why we elect to give weight to the fact that the trial judge heard and observed petitioner in finding her not to be mature and well informed.
Below the fold, why Judge Bataillon really can’t be trusted to protect women’s rights to make their own health care decisions. You’ll be appalled.
The girl’s attorney testified to the court that Bataillon should have been recused, but the SC refused to address that point.