Reproductive Rights

Alaska Court Strikes Down Anti-Abortion Parental Notification Law

The Alaska Supreme Court struck down a law last week that required physicians to notify the guardians of teenage minors seeking an abortion 48 hours prior to performing the procedure. The ruling reverses the decision of an Anchorage Superior Court that upheld the majority of the law and denied a request made by Planned Parenthood for a preliminary injunction that would block the law from going into effect. The Alaska Supreme Court’s ruling is a major win for the privacy and equal protection of minor girls in the state of Alaska.

The court ruled that the law was unconstitutional on the basis that it created a burden only for minors seeking abortion and not for minors who wished to carry their pregnancy to term. While the law had allowed for judicial bypass that would allow minors to avoid notification, this process had proven difficult to carry out for young girls without the means to navigate the legal system.

The lawsuit was brought by Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and two Alaskan physicians. “We applaud the court for ruling to protect the health and safety of young women in Alaska,” said Christine Charbonneau, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. “We all want teens to be safe—and the sad truth is that some teens live in dangerous homes and can’t go to their parents. This law would prevent some of Alaska’s most vulnerable teens from accessing safe medical care.”

Medical experts across the country widely oppose mandatory parental involvement laws because they fail to foster healthy communication and can be detrimental to the health and safety of young girls. As of March 2016, 38 states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion.

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