State Supreme Court hears challenge from Planned Parenthood
The State of Alaska is defending a voter-approved law that requires at least one parent be notified before an abortion practitioner can perform an abortion on a minor girl. The law provides an option for a judge to bypass the notification requirement in special circumstances.
Initially approved in 2010 when Alaska became the first state to pass a parental notification law through a citizen-led initiative, the measure is now being challenged in the Alaska Supreme Court by Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in the nation.
Oral arguments were heard on Feb. 19 in Anchorage and a decision is expected later this year.
The law passed comfortably in 2010 by a 56 to 43 percent margin.
The achievement was a long-sought and welcome victory, particularly for parents and many Catholics who collected petition signatures, waved signs on street corners and prayed to ensure the protection of parental rights. The Catholic Church recognizes the relationship between parent and child as sacred — and not one to be broken by others, including abortion practitioners.
In 2012 Anchorage Superior Court Judge John Suddock upheld the law, concluding that “minors may be pleasantly surprised when underestimated parents support, comfort and affirm them. Or a teen might overlook available resources. Her parents might help raise the child, and so make college or military service feasible. Parental notification undoubtedly can open doors to unconsidered options for an otherwise isolated young woman.”
The court upheld all but two aspects of the law: one that allowed parents to sue in civil court if an abortionist fails to obey the law and a provision that required clear and convincing evidence at judicial bypass hearings.
Since the law took effect, the number of abortions to girls age 17 and younger has seen a dramatic drop. In 2010, before the law took effect, there were 113 abortions to girls under 17. After the law took effect there were only 87 abortions to girls under 17 in 2011 and just 68 in 2012.