Proposal that requires parental consent for abortion is certified

July 2, 2009 

A proposal to require parental notice or consent before a female younger than 18 could have an abortion was certified Thursday by the state so that its backers can seek enough signatures to get the initiative before voters next year.

The proposed law would require the parental notice or consent except in these circumstances:

• The teen submits a notarized statement that she is a victim of abuse by a parent or guardian.

• The teen persuades a court to let her bypass notification.

• A doctor declares a medical emergency.

Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell certified the initiative. If its backers get at least 32,734 Alaskans from across the state to sign the initiative in the next year, the proposal will go on a statewide ballot for a public vote next year.

In a press release Thursday evening, Planned Parenthood said the ballot measure violates Alaska law and puts teens at risk and the organization plans to fight it. "We believe there are several legal problems with this initiative, including the setting of court rules, and our lawyers are now taking a close look at our options," the release quotes Clover Simon, vice president of Alaska for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, as saying. The organization is preparing the campaign to fight the initiative "because, in the real world, laws like this put teens at risk," Simon says.

The initiative is the result of a bill stalling in the state Senate this year that would have required girls under 17 to tell their parents they're about to have an abortion.

The prime sponsors of the initiative are former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman, recent Anchorage school board candidate Mia Costello, and Kim Hummer-Minnery, whose husband is president of the Alaska Family Council, a Christian pro-family, anti-abortion group that supports the effort.

The Alaska Supreme Court two years ago ruled a parental consent bill unconstitutional on a 3-2 vote, saying it would rob a pregnant teen of her constitutional right to make such an important decision herself and transfers that right to her parents or a judge.

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