Alaska Pro-Life Lawmakers Want Parental Consent on Abortion Referendum

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 8, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Alaska Pro-Life Lawmakers Want Parental Consent on Abortion Referendum Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 8,

Juneau, AK ( — Two pro-life lawmakers are responding to a recent decision by the state’s Supreme Court overturning a law requiring parental consent for minors girls on abortion saying they will push for a referendum. They want to let Alaska voters consider whether parents should be required to sign off on a teenager’s request for an abortion.

As reported earlier this week, the state’s high court issued a 3-2 decision on the law claming that it denies a teenager her so-called right to an abortion, even though the U.S. Supreme Court, which handed down the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, has consistently upheld parental notification and consent laws.

Though the high court ruled against the statute, Chief Justice Dana Fabe, writing for the majority, said a measure that simply provided parents with notification in advance of a minor’s abortion, rather than obtaining their consent, would be legally sound.

Rep. John Coghill and Sen. Fred Dyson, both Republicans, say they are two of a group of 10 legislators who think the Alaska Supreme Court got the decision wrong.

They held a Wednesday news conference to explain their goals.

"What this court decision did was put the parents out of the loop when it comes to the care, protection, nurturing and decision-making of the child," Coghill said. "The Legislature did everything it could to protect the privacy of a young child getting pregnant."

The legislature is currently in a special session about another political issue and won’t be able to address a possible request for a ballot proposal until it reconvenes in January for its regular session.

If a bill is introduced for a ballot proposal, it would need the support of two-thirds of the members of both the House and Senate to move forward.

Any such measure would find support from Gov. Sarah Palin, who called the high court’s ruling "outrageous" and asked Attorney General Talis Colberg to file legal papers asking for a re-hearing.

However abortion advocates would oppose a ballot measure letting parents have the say over whether or not their daughters get an abortion.

Clover Simon, head of Planned Parenthood of Alaska, told AP that lawmakers should focus on other issues instead.