PG, other news organizations seek to unseal abortion case

State Supreme Court hearing Allegheny County case appeal

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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and several other Pennsylvania newspapers filed a petition today to open a sealed state Supreme Court case that could potentially alter part of the state's abortion law.

The case involves a 17-year-old who requested permission from an Allegheny County judge to have an abortion and was denied. Such "bypass petitions," part of the Abortion Control Act of 1982, are designed to allow a minor to seek permission from a judge to have an abortion if she can't get permission from her parents.

The teenager appealed to Superior Court, lost, and appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed in August to hear the case. No date has been set.

The high court will review two issues: Whether the Abortion Control Act requires parental consent and what standard Superior Court should apply in reviewing lower court decisions in such cases. Denials of petitions are rare.

The Abortion Control Act requires all bypass petition cases to be sealed to protect the identity of the minor. But the news organizations' petition says this case should be opened, with the teen's name redacted, because it could set a legal precedent.

The Post-Gazette was joined in the filing by The Morning Call in Allentown, which first wrote about the case last month, along with the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com


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