appreciates, and can intelligently exercise those rights.126 But until
that time, the parents are responsible for preparing their child for
adulthood.127 The responsibility of that parent is to raise a child with
the values and morals that align with the family, whether or not the
court agrees with those values and morals.128 This responsibility falls
on the parent, until such time that the child can either intelligently
exercise his or her broad constitutional right, as well as statutorily
acknowledged rights, such as driving a car, voting, or purchasing
firearms. Such statutory rights may be curtailed in ways that
otherwise could not constitutionally be limited in the case of an
The right to abortion is another example of a right that
depends on the maturity of the child who is exercising the right.
Before a child may obtain an abortion without parental consent, she
must demonstrate the ability to intelligently and knowingly exercise
that right. For some rights, however, the court has upheld that the
only requirement for this determination is the age of the child. An
eighteen-year-old does not need to demonstrate that he or she can
intelligently vote for a candidate, as age is the only legal requirement.
But before the child may exercise his or her right, the child may be
treated differently than adults. Until the child can demonstrate the
above criteria, there is the unequal treatment of the child in
exercising the constitutional right to privacy.130 Requiring the legal
process for a minor to petition the court for an abortion without
parental consent allows the rights of the child to be recognized as
equal, but subject to the parents’ oversight and standards. When a
judge determines a child has met her burden of proof to obtain an
abortion without parental consent, that child has equally recognizable
rights as the parental rights. But without a court order, the exercise of
126 After taking testimony from the juvenile, a judge must determine whether or not
the juvenile has demonstrated the necessary criteria based upon Bellotti and the
statutes to grant her request to have an abortion without parental consent. Id. at
128 Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399-400 (1923).
129 Bellotti, 443 U.S. at 634.