NRL News

Nebraska judicial ethics panel rejects pro-abortion complaint against judge who ruled 16-year old not mature enough to make abortion decision on her own

by | Dec 10, 2013


By Dave Andrusko

It is an article of faith that every time—EVERY time—a minor wishes to avoid telling her parent[s] she is pregnant by using a judicial bypass that the judge must agree she is capable of making the decision on her own.

So (from their perspective) it was bad enough Douglas County [Nebraska] District Judge Peter Bataillon ruled that a 16-year-old girl was not mature enough to make an abortion decision on her own. But before making that ruling, Bataillon asked her whether she understood that “when you have the abortion, it’s going to kill the child inside you.”

That prompted “representatives of abortion rights groups NARAL Pro-Choice America and RH Reality Check submitted an online petition with some 89,000 signatures to the Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualifications urging an investigation into what they said was anti-abortion bias in a case by Douglas County District Court Judge Peter Bataillon,” according to Kevin O’Hanlon of the Lincoln Journal Star.

In addition to his comment to the girl, critics cited Bataillon’s one-time position as chairman of Metro Right to Life and as an attorney who represented pro-lifers in court as evidence he was not impartial.

However “The commission has no authority to second-guess a judge’s determinations and is prohibited from taking any action absent clear and convincing evidence of fraud, corrupt motive or bad faith,” Commission Secretary Janice Walker said in rejecting the complaint.

Under Nebraska law, minors must have parental consent for abortions. “They can bypass the provision in medical emergencies, if they are victims of abuse or neglect or if they can prove to a judge they are mature and well-informed enough to make the decision themselves,” O’Hanlon explained.

“In a September ruling, the Nebraska Supreme Court upheld Bataillon’s ruling rejecting the 16-year-old’s request to waive the required parental consent,” he added. “Bataillon said the girl had not shown she was sufficiently mature and well-informed enough to decide on her own whether to have an abortion.”

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said, “We are deeply disappointed by the commission’s refusal to hold Judge Bataillon accountable for his outrageous behavior when denying a young woman her right to terminate an unintended pregnancy.”

Categories: Judicial