Alaska House Passes Bill Providing Parental Consent Before Teenager’s Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
April 3, 2009
Juneau, AK (LifeNews.com) — The Alaska state House on Thursday approved legislation that would allow parents the ability to prevent their minor teenager daughter from having an abortion. The require requires parental consent before a girl can have an abortion, and it will likely reduce abortions and increase parental rights.
The House signed off on HB 35, sponsored by Rep. John Coghill, a Republican, on a 22-14 vote.
The Alaska Supreme Court struck down the previous parental consent law the legislature approved but Coghill’s bill changes the standards, processes and parental oversight of a minor with regard to abortions in the hopes of getting the court to reverse its previous decision.
Also, the members of the high court have changed and pro-life advocates are hopeful the new court will be more receptive to the law.
"I believe this legislation strikes a balance between the rights of the parent and the rights of the minor while addressing the dire circumstances that some Alaskan youngsters may find themselves in," Coghill said.
"I understand we have people who disagree with this, and I am not pretending that this particular bill provides all the answers, but I do believe it gives some protection to the minor by having someone looking over their shoulder and helping with this very momentous decision," he added.
HB 35 now moves to the Alaska State Senate for consideration, where similar pro-life bills have been held up before.
Last year, Anchorage Democratic Sen. Hollis French, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, prevented the consent bill from moving forward. Though he doesn’t appear willing to support a consent bill, he may back a notification measure.
That has prompted a debate among pro-life advocates about whether to support Coghill’s bill or support a move to pass a parental notification measure.
Coghill tells the Alaska Daily News he knows the consent bill will have a tough time in the Senate and he says he may be willing to compromise as well to at least get a notification measure through even though he says he has the votes in the state House.
"If that’s all I can get then it’s something I would look favorably at," Coghill said.
However, Gov. Sarah Palin sent an email to the Daily News on Friday saying she wanted the consent measure. She originally announced her support for the bill in February.
According to state statistics, there were 1,759 abortions in Alaska in 2008 and 141 were done on teens under the age of 18. There is no indication of how many were done on 17-year-olds and younger teens.
ACTION: Ask members of the state legislature to support House Bill 35 for parental involvement. Contact them at https://house.legis.state.ak.us
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