ANCHORAGE, Alaska, December 14, 2010 ( – The Anchorage Superior Court has upheld the state’s beleaguered law requiring parental notification before a minor’s abortion, but not before gutting the penalties assigned to abortionists should they fail to follow it.

Superior Court Judge John Suddock issued a decision Monday supporting the law, which Planned Parenthood had attempted to block in court. But at the same time he removed the fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment of up to 5 years for noncompliant abortionists.

The judge also made other changes relaxing the law to allow physicians or a “designee” to notify parents or guardians, and disallowing abortionists from being liable for damages.

Clover Simon, vice president for the Alaska branch of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, said the group would keep fighting the law and encouraged minors not to hesitate to seek abortions. “We don’t want them to be afraid to come in,” said Simon.

Jim Minnery of the Alaska Family Council expressed frustration at the changes to the law, saying that the law has become an “Alaska State Suggestion.”

Minnery told that he was glad the core of the law is being put into effect, but said “we totally disagree with his decision to effectively neuter the statute” by eliminating all penalties.

“How effective would a law against drunk driving be if there was no penalty attached to it?” Minnery asked. “What incentive do doctors have to comply with this law?”

Minnery pointed out that even Justice Harry Blackmun, the author of Roe v. Wade, voted to uphold parental involvement laws with criminal penalties and warned against too little restriction.

The parental notification measure was voted into law by Alaska citizens in August 2009 by referendum. Planned Parenthood had also sued to prevent the referendum from ever reaching voters, but was unsuccessful.

The law is due to take effect Tuesday.


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