Legal Guide

Alaska Supreme Court Strikes Down Parental Notification For Abortion Law

Abortion is one of those topics that you are either for or very, very against. The law of the land allows for a woman to abort an unborn fetus before twenty months without consequence. No matter what side of the political fence you are on, it may mean something different if it is your daughter or your son’s girlfriend who is thinking about aborting their pregnancy.

Many adults already feel as if they have no control over the choices and the behaviors of their children. If there is ever a time when you feel that it is your right to know about the decisions that your child is making, it is if, and when, they become pregnant. No one would wish pregnancy on someone who is not capable or ready for a child, but if you don’t seek the proper advice from those who are in a position to help, you may make a decision that you will regret for a lifetime.

That was the push behind the law in Alaska to make it mandatory for parental consent to have an abortion. It would seem well within the realm of conscious to insist that if a girl was under the age of 16, maybe even to push it to 18, to have a parent consult before they chose to end the life of an unborn child. Apparently, the Alaska Supreme Court doesn’t agree.

Just last week, the Alaska Supreme Court decided that underage girls need not seek the approval or consent of their parents before going through an abortion procedure. In a 4 to one ruling, the court decided that there need not be parental consent before a girl before the age of 18, goes through the procedure to have a baby aborted.

A civil rights lawyer Philadelphia, can put this into perspective, if you go to the emergency room and need stitches for your eye, you can’t receive any type of medical care without the permission of a consenting adult. But, if you want to have an abortion, all authority flies out the window.

A very complex issue, those who are fighting for the rights of the “women” in this case, believe that they should have the ultimate decision and that they shouldn’t need anyone to sign off. They fear that needing parental consent could lead to women being forced to go through pregnancies. Those on the other side see it in a different way. If underage girls are not forced to talk to their parents, they may make rash decisions out of fear, which is not a good medical decision and can lead to life-long consequences.

At the head of the debate are the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU, who are going against the popular vote. 56% of Alaskans believe that there should be a parental law in place, but obviously, the organizations know better.

The law dates back to 1997 when there was an initiative by the populous of Alaska to require parental notification if minors wanted to go through the procedure to have an abortion. Currently, the law states that any girl 16 or older can give consent to have sexual intercourse with an adult man of any age. Up until now, however, anyone under the age of 16 had to have the consent of one parent to obtain an abortion that resulted in pregnancy.

The only exception was if there was a “medical necessity”. Any physician was required to have a 48 hour period to begin an abortion procedure unless their health was at issue. Other stipulations were that the parents could not be notified within 24 hours, after trying to be contacted more than fives times

The overturning of the parental consent law is a hard one for many who have girls in Alaska to stomach. With no legal obligation to tell your parents when you are “in trouble” or to discuss your pregnancy, there may be many babies that never get to take their first breath due to fear. A growing debate across the nation, it is difficult enough for a grown woman who is self-sufficient to make the decision to have an abortion, now Alaska is giving girls who can’t even get behind the wheel of a car, the right to decide the fate of their unborn child.

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