Alaska court upholds abortion parental notice law for minors

[JURIST] An Alaska Superior Court [official website] judge on Monday upheld a state law [HB 35 materials] that requires women under the age of 18 to notify their parents if they intend to get an abortion. Judge John Suddock held that the law is constitutional but struck down a provision that would have imposed civil liability on doctors who provide abortions without ensuring that parents have been notified. The law was approved by voters in August 2010 but was challenged [complaint, PDF] by Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest [advocacy website], which argued that the law could cause women to delay in getting abortions [Anchorage Daily News report]. Suddock previously declined to enjoin the law [JURIST report] but did make several changes. The number of abortions among teenagers in Alaska dropped in 2011 [HSS report, PDF] following the law's implementation.

Many states have grappled with laws regarding parental notification for abortion procedures. In June 2011 the Illinois Appellate Court [official website] ordered a circuit court [JURIST report] to determine whether a law requiring a girl's guardians to be notified before she has an abortion should be enforced. The Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995 [text], which has never been enforced, mandates that doctors notify the guardians of girls younger than 18 years old 48 hours before the girl gets an abortion. One day earlier Florida Governor Rick Scott [official website] signed into law [JURIST report] a bill revising the definition of constructive notice required if actual notice of a parent is not possible, and affecting the ability of a minor to obtain a court waiver from the parental notification law.

 

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