Alaska Legislature Fails to Approve Parental Involvement on Abortion, Palin Upset
by Steven Ertelt
April 20, 2009
Juneau, AK (LifeNews.com) — The Alaska legislature hit a legislative deadline last week without taking any final action to get a parental involvement bill approved that would allow parents to know when their daughters are having an abortion and potentially veto it. The inaction has upset pro-life Gov. Sarah Palin.
Lawmakers in the state House initially approved a parental consent bill that would have allowed parents the right to reject their daughter’s potential abortion.
After Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Hollis French said he would again prevent the bill from getting a debate and vote in his committee, legislators looked to compromise. They put together a parental notification bill that French said he would support that would at least inform parents when their children are considering an abortion.
By Friday, the consent bill had not received a Senate vote and the compromise notification measure did not receive either a hearing or vote.
Palin, on Saturday, criticized the lack of action on the bills calling it a "blow to parents across the state" and said she would continue to work "as a private citizen" to promote parental involvement.
Sharon Leighow, spokesperson for Palin, told the Juneau Empire newspaper that Palin may work with pro-life groups to spearhead a ballot initiative to put a measure on the ballot.
Legislators are also upset as Sen. Fred Dyson, a Republican, put together a hearing on the notification bill and he had pro-life advocates fly to Juneau from other parts of the state come to the legislature to testify. After two hours of testimony, lawmakers defeated the bill 4-1.
Sen. Bettye Davis, a Democrat, opposed the measure and told the newspaper the bill wasn’t ready to head to the full Senate.
Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell also criticized the lack of action.
"These legislators have now taken the extreme position that concerned parents can’t even be assured they will be notified when their minor daughter faces an abortion," he said.
The Alaska Supreme Court struck down the previous parental consent law the legislature approved but the new consent 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.
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.
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