Parental notification does not violate the constitution, Alaskan judge rules
JUNEAU, October 10, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The right of parents to know whether their minor children are about to obtain an abortion has been upheld as constitutional by an Alaskan judge.
On Monday, Alaska Superior Court Judge John Suddock found the plaintiffs had failed to prove a state law requiring abortionists to contact a girl’s parents before aborting her child violated the minors’ right to privacy, and the “due process rights” of the abortionists themselves.
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Center for Reproductive Rights – which Reuters news service described as “civil rights groups” – joined the ACLU and two abortionists in suing the state over the 2010 statute.
Judge Suddock upheld the law’s penalty on those who violate the law, which reaches a maximum of a $1,000 fine and five years in jail.
Parents must also provide proof of their relationship to the child by, for example, displaying a birth certificate. This prevents others – including a boyfriend or an older molester – from posing as the minor’s father.
“This decision represents a major victory for the people of Alaska, who have worked tirelessly to adopt and enforce protections for minors seeking abortion,” said Mailee Smith of Americans United for Life.
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Assistant Alaska Attorney General Margaret Paton-Walsh said the law affected, at most, 150 people a year. Only 87 minors had an abortion statewide in 2011, a 23 percent decline since 2007. Nine minors sought a judicial review since the law took effect.
“Have there been girls put into difficult situations because of this law?” Paton-Walsh asked. “Not really.”
However, pro-lifers did not greet every part of the decision, which is almost certain to be appealed to the state supreme court.
“Portions of Judge John Suddock’s 65-page decision that were decidedly unhelpful,” wrote Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life News.
Judge Suddock voided provisions of the law requiring minors to present “clear and convincing evidence” of judicial bypass hearings and imposing greater sanctions on some abortionists.
The law required the abortionist to personally secure parental approval, but Suddock allowed that another employee could do so.
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