17-year-old gets help in lying about age to get abortion; later, she and her mother sue helper (the boyfriend's mother) for providing the help

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Those are the facts in Lockett v. Planned Parenthood, an Indiana Court of Appeals decision that was just posted to Westlaw.

There are some other procedural twists, and the court doesn't deal with the merits of the claim against the boyfriend's mother in detail, but it does suggest that the case may be plausible, because of the boyfriend's mother's "role in encouraging" the then-17-year-old girl's misrepresentation. On remand, the trial court will have to consider the arguments, and presumably decide whether the boyfriend's mother's actions tortiously injured the girl and her mother. (The girl's consent to the abortion—and to the use of the fake ID—was inadequate, plaintiffs argue, because she was underage at the time. The mother is involved as a plaintiff because Indiana law provides that abortions may only be obtained with the consent of the girl's parent or guardian, unless the girl successfully petitions a court for a judicial bypass of this requirement.)

But the court upholds the dismissal of the plaintiffs' claim against Planned Parenthood, based on the theory that Planned Parenthood should have known that the girl was using a fake ID. An Indiana tort reform statute requires medical malpractice plaintiffs to first submit claims to a medical review panel, something plaintiffs didn't do. And the court concludes that the statute does apply, because the plaintiffs' claims, based as they are on the lack of informed consent on the 17-year-old girl's part, fall within the statute.

Advertisement