Superior Court Upholds Parental Notification Law for Abortions
Planned Parenthood may appeal
ANCHORAGE - A Superior Court judge is siding with voters who say the parents of young teens need to be notified of abortions in advance.
Judge John Suddock ruled the 2010 ballot initiative is constitutional and does not violate the right to privacy. The judge also put back in criminal penalties for doctors or nurses who don't comply -- penalties that he had initially blocked from going into effect.
Suddock also struck down a provision that would have opened up doctors and nurses to unlimited civil liabilities.
State attorneys say they're confident the Alaska Supreme Court will side with voters, as well.
Margaret Paton-Walsh, an assistant attorney general, said: "The question would be in the details. We believe that the details don't create a constitutional problem; the law should be upheld. We’re optimistic that the Supreme Court will agree."
The law does allow a girl from an abusive home to get a judge's permission for an abortion without notifying her parents.
Neither side in the case knows of an instance in which that bypass has been denied.
But Planned Parenthood says it might still appeal.
"So far we've been able to get everyone in while they're in the first trimester, which is very important for their health,” said Clover Simon. “But you know the longer this is in effect, the higher the likelihood that we could be pushing teens into the second trimester because of really having to jump through a hoop that's seemingly unnecessary."
Appeals to Judge Suddock's ruling must be filed within 30 days.
Clover Simon of Planned Parenthood suggested the organization might take the full 30 days, so that its filing would come after the election.