Alaska Committees Approve Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, Parental Consent Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 3, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Alaska Committees Approve Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, Parental Consent Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 3
, 2008

Juneau, AK ( — Alaska legislative committees are advancing two pro-life bills — one that would ban partial-birth abortions in the state and another that would allow parents to object to their teenage daughter having an abortion. Alaska House panels have signed off on both measures and they now head to the full House for a vote.

Last month, the Alaska House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would update the language in the state’s partial-birth abortion ban to conform to the language of the federal ban.

The Supreme Court, last April, upheld the federal ban as Constitutional — a reversal of a 2000 decision saying a health exception was necessary.

A similar bill in the Senate gets a hearing sometime this month.

Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill on Friday that would require abortion practitioners to receive parental permission before their minor daughter can get an abortion.

It would revise the parental consent bill the legislature approved in 1997 that the Alaska Supreme Court eventually declared unconstitutional on a 3-2 vote.

Since the decision, Gov. Sarah Palin appointed Daniel Winfree of Fairbanks to replace one of the judges who sided with the majority in overturning the consent statute.

House Rules Committee Chairman John Coghill, a Republican who is behind both measures, tells the Juneau Empire newspaper that he hopes to revise the measure and, if it goes to court again, have a new decision overturning the previous one.

"I’m pushing the limits, there’s no doubt, but that was my intention anyways. I want to overturn (the Alaska Supreme Court). I think they are just so dead wrong," he said.

Although 35 states have either a parental notification or consent law in place on abortion, Brittany Goodnight, public affairs manager for Planned Parenthood of Alaska, told the newspaper that the measure would be the "harshest in the country."

That’s because it would be very difficult for teenagers in the nation’s largest state to get to a judge for a judicial bypass to override the consent requirement in very rare cases of abuse.

But Debbie Joslin, president of Eagle Forum Alaska, told the Empire that parental consent is vital because parents can help steer their children towards better decisions than abortion.

"God made parents for kids and the majority of the time parents are a great thing," said Joslin. "It’s not right to come between a parent and a child."

Related web sites:
Alaska legislature –
Alaska Right to Life –