Alaska Legislator Files Compromise Bill for Parental Notification Before Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
April 6, 2009
Juneau, AK (LifeNews.com) — With a pro-abortion legislator holding up a state House-approved bill allowing parental consent before a teenager’s abortion, legislators have filed a bill for parental notification. They hope that bill will get the backing of a committee chairman who has blocked a consent bill in the past.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Hollis French has been a thorn in the side of legislators who want to allow parents the opportunity to prevent their children from having an abortion.
While he says he will support a notification bill, he won’t allow a hearing and vote in the committee on a bill to require parental consent beforehand.
Charlie Huggins, a Republican, filed the notification bill and told the Juneau Empire newspaper that he prefers a consent measure but wants to at least get a notification bill approved.
"I would vote for the House version and sponsor the House version. However, in the business of politics, I don’t think we can get that through the Senate," he said.
Rep. John Coghill, the Republican who sponsored the consent bill the House passed, says he will continue to press for his measure but will back the notification bill if that is all the legislature is willing to move ahead.
"If that’s what they return to me, that’s more movement than no movement," he said. "I’ve said all along that I’d look favorably on that, and maybe that gave them too much encouragement, but I will go lobby my case and we’ll see what we can get."
The House signed off on HB 35, Coghill’s bill, 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.
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 and Huggins’ bill for notification. Contact them at https://house.legis.state.ak.us
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