Alaska Planned Parenthood Sues to Stop Parental Notification Before Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 3, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Alaska Planned Parenthood Sues to Stop Parental Notification Before Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 3
, 2009

Juneau, AK ( — Parents of teenage girls in Alaska may want the right to know when their daughters are considering an abortion, but Alaska Planned Parenthood doesn’t want them to get to vote on it. The abortion business has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop a state ballot initiative that would allow parental notification before abortion.

Earlier this month, Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell certified the initiative and its sponsors began the campaign to collect signatures from 32,734 Alaskans so the initiative can appear on the ballot.

But the Alaska branch of Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit to prevent organizers from getting the signatures and letting Alaskans have a chance to vote on the measure.

Planned Parenthood, along with Bartlett High School teacher Susan Wingrove, say they don’t want to prevent a vote but they claim the language of the initiative is unconstitutional.

"The Alaska constitution has very specific rules about what a citizens initiative can and can’t do," Clover Simon, the head of Planned Parenthood, told CBS News 11. "And one of those rules is that it cannot create court rules. We feel like we owe anyone who is going to vote on this issue should have a very clear and legal law to vote on and this does not meet those requirements."

Jim Minnery, the president of the Alaska Family Council and a sponsor of the initiative, told the television station that he thinks a court will uphold the language.

"It’s not a surprise," he said. "Because typically that’s the response that Planned Parenthood has. "It’s just a desperate attempt to try to again thwart the will of the people by Planned Parenthood and then previously by the Alaska Supreme Court."

Although Planned Parenthood claims the measure doesn’t take into account girls who come from abusive home situations, Minnery says it does.

He explained that the measure would merely require someone familiar with the girl’s situation to inform the abortion practitioner that her parents are abusive.

"It’s such a tiny, tiny percentage of underage kids that get pregnant that come from an abusive or violent home," he said. "And of course we are aware of that and have done everything possible to protect those kids."

Fr. Frank Pavone, the director of Priests for Life, also commented on the lawsuit.

He told that Planned Parenthood of Alaska’s lawsuit to prevent a parental notification for abortion initiative from ever being voted upon reflects the group’s anti-parent mindset.

"Planned Parenthood doesn’t want parents to know what it’s doing to their daughters or their unborn grandchildren," said Fr. Pavone, "because it thinks it knows better than parents what’s good for young girls. This lawsuit is one more example of Planned Parenthood’s anti-parent bias."

Organizers need the signatures before the legislative session begins next January from people who think parents have a right to know if their daughter is considering having an abortion.

The measure would require parental involvement before an abortion can be done on a minor girl unless the teen submits a notarized statement that she has been a victim of abuse by her parents, a physician declares a medical emergency, or a court signs off on an abortion notification bypass.

The initiative came about because state legislators, once again, stalled a bill in the state Senate that the House approved.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Hollis French refused to allow a hearing and vote on the bill.

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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