Reproductive Rights

Alaska to Reimburse Planned Parenthood Legal Fees over Parental Notification Law

Alaska must pay the nearly $1 million in legal fees that Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands, as well as two Alaskan physicians, incurred fighting the state’s unconstitutional parental notification law. The 2010 ballot initiative required physicians to notify the guardians of teenage minors seeking an abortion 48 hour prior to performing the procedure

The law was struck down by the Alaska Supreme Court in July, ruling it a violation of the equal protection clause 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 permitted a 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.

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.

Alaska is not the only state that has to reimburse the legal fees of groups fighting anti-abortion legislation. A District Court recently ruled that Wisconsin must pay out a $1.6 million settlement to several plaintiffs who sued over the state’s admitting privilege law. North Carolina, Alabama, and Missouri have also had to reimburse the legal costs incurred by organization fighting their unconstitutional anti-abortion laws.

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