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Feminist News


August-25-10

Alaska Voters Pass Parental Notification Law

As a result of a voter initiative passed Tuesday in Alaska's primary election, women age 17 and under seeking an abortion in state of Alaska must have their parents notified prior to the procedure. The new law does not, however, require parental consent. If a parent does not consent to the abortion, there is a 48 hour waiting period before the procedure can be performed. The new parental notification law will go into effect mid-December, according to RH Reality Check.

The law requires that doctors notify the parents of underage women who are seeking abortions, Anchorage Daily News reports. A doctor who fails to do so could face felony charges and a prison sentence of up to five years. Exemptions to the law will be made if an underage woman testifies to abuse before a judge or receives a notarized statement from her doctor attesting to abuse at home.

The Alaska state legislature had previously passed a parental consent law, but the state Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the law was unconstitutional because it violated teens' right to privacy, according to the Associated Press. Tuesday's voter initiative only requires notification, not parental consent.

Chris Charbonneau, chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, attributes the vote to high conservative turn out for the competitive Republican primary election between incumbent Lisa Murkowski and tea-party candidate Joe Miller, reported the Anchorage Daily News. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union raised nearly $800,000 to oppose the measure.

In addition to Alaska, thirty-four states require parental notification or consent for women under the age of 18 who are seeking abortions.

Media Resources: RH Reality Check; Anchorage Daily News 8/25/10; Associated Press 8/24/10