Supreme Court Justice McGee Brown’s Rhetoric Doesn’t Match Pro-Abortion Rulings
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown approved all but 13 of 131 “judicial bypass” requests for minors seeking an abortion without parental consent during her tenure as a Franklin County Juvenile Court judge, according to public records obtained by Media Trackers Ohio. Earlier this month, Media Trackers reported that through McGee Browns first two years as a Franklin County Juvenile Court judge, she granted every request to bypass Ohios abortion laws that came before her court.
Ohios parental notification law, which took effect in 1990, requires unmarried girls under the age of 18 to obtain a parent or guardians permission before having an abortion. A minor seeking to have an abortion without the consent of her parents must prove to the court that she is mature enough to make the decision without consultation, that parental notification would not be in her best interests, and that she understands the consequences of the abortion procedure.
Minors may request court approval for an abortion without parental consent by filing for a judicial bypass. Records of individual judicial bypass hearings are protected, but aggregate statistics were ruled public records by the Ohio Supreme Court in 1992.
The law — which has been revised since 1990 — requires “clear and convincing evidence” of the bypasss necessity, and requires judges to question the minor’s consideration of an abortion’s physical and emotional consequences.
In a 1993 Columbus Dispatch investigation, lawyers for teenaged girls seeking abortions privately confirmed that they shop around for abortion-friendly judges, avoiding judges who grant bypasses more sparingly before filing a bypass request.
After a manual review of McGee Browns records, the Franklin County Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas determined McGee Brown approved 118 of the 131 judicial bypass requests that came before her. In ten years as a Juvenile Court judge, McGee Brown denied only 13 requests for underage abortions without parental consent, resulting in an average approval rate of more than 90 percent.
In a March 1999 interview with Columbus Monthly magazine — near the end of her career as a judge — McGee Brown told reporter Ray Paprocki that she hated judicial bypass hearings, espousing rhetoric that sounds rather pro-life in its timbre.
“This is serious; there ought to be a parent involved. Some of these kids come in acting as if they are getting a haircut,” McGee Brown said. “I dont think the [abortion] clinics do a good job in preparing them, not from a moral perspective, but about the possible long-term effects: might not be able to have children again, psychological scars. I know women who still cry 20 years later.”
McGee Browns criticism of abortion providers did not, however, dissuade pro-abortion lobbyist group NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio from endorsing her for Lieutenant Governor in 2010.
When asked for comment about the seeming discrepancy between the groups endorsement of McGee Brown and her seemingly anti-abortion rhetoric in 1999, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kelly Copeland refused to discuss the rationale behind the group’s endorsement.