Yesterday Alaska became the 37th state to require parental involvement before abortion. By a margin of 55% to 45%, voters approved Ballot Measure 2, an initiative sponsored by Alaskans for Parental Rights and requiring that abortionists notify a parent or guardian before performing an abortion on a minor.
Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood filed a legal challenge against the initiative in an effort to keep it off the ballot. However, in June, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled against the abortion provider. In the wake of yesterday’s results, Planned Parenthood is expected to launch a second legal challenge.
The battle to protect minors in the state of Alaska has been hard-fought, and AUL has a long history of involvement. In 2004, AUL attorneys filed an amicus brief in the Alaska Supreme Court in support of an earlier parental consent law that was ultimately struck down. Later, AUL provided information and counsel to allies supporting Ballot Measure 2.
Contrary to claims by Planned Parenthood, there is no reason to believe that the law will in any way endanger the health of minors. To the contrary, studies reveal that minors are even more at risk from the harms of abortion than adults. For example, minors are up to twice as likely as adults to experience cervical lacerations during abortion, and they are also at greater risk for post-abortion infections, such as pelvic inflammatory disease and endometritis. Notifying a parent of a minor’s abortion helps ensure that a minor will get adequate medical treatment if such complications arise.
Furthermore, the law provides for a court waiver (“judicial bypass”) when notifying a parent is not in the minor’s best interest. There is also a provision waiving the law if there is a medical emergency.