Alaska Legislature Heads Home, Killing Parental Consent Bill on Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
April 14, 2008
Juneau, AK (LifeNews.com) — A bill that would have required parental consent before a minor teenager can have an abortion is dead now that Alaska lawmakers have close dup shop. With legislators heading home following the end of the session, the bill is dead even though the Alaska House approved it.
The measure would revise the parental consent bill the legislature approved in 1997 that the Alaska Supreme Court eventually declared unconstitutional on a 3-2 vote.
The House passed House Bill 364 on a 23-15 vote April 5, but the Senate never passed the bill so it could go to the governor.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is pro-life, told the local ABC news television station she’s disappointed the bill never made it to her desk.
"My belief is parents have the right to know about the health and welfare of their children," she said.
Since the state court’s 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 the bill, previously told the Juneau Empire newspaper he hopes to have the court review its prior ruling.
"I’m pushing the limits, there’s no doubt, but that was my intention anyway. 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."