December 21, 2012 — Court employees in more than half of Virginia jurisdictions are unprepared or unwilling to provide information to pregnant minors about obtaining permission to get an abortion through a judicial bypass under the state's parental consent law, according to an investigation by NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, the Huffington Post reports.
For the evaluation, young women from NARAL contacted court employees in each of the 123 jurisdictions in Virginia and asked about obtaining a judicial bypass.
In 67 jurisdictions, officials were unable to provide the information or gave the caller inaccurate information. In more than 12 jurisdictions, the woman was transferred more than six times before speaking to someone who was able to answer the question.
The report also found that the individuals answering the calls in some jurisdictions were "overtly judgmental and intimidating" or entirely ignorant of the bypass option.
Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, called the findings "deeply troubling" adding, "Young women ... deserve complete and accurate information regarding the law and their options in the courts."
In response to the report, the organization has recommended that all jurisdictions provide information online about the bypass option.
The group also has launched a program to educate court employees and provide information to pregnant teens about judicial bypass, abortion, adoption, contraception and parenting (Bassett, Huffington Post, 12/21).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership