Alaska just threw out a major abortion restriction
It’s a good day for young women in Alaska. The Alaska Supreme Court has found a new state law, which requires teens under the age of 18 to notify their parents before getting an abortion, unconstitutional.
The new finding agrees with pro-abortion rights advocates that the mandate approved by voters in 2010 violates the constitutional privacy rights of minors.
The law required minors tell their parents 48 hours before getting an abortion (unless they get parental permission to have the procedure sooner). The teens had the option of trying to get a judge to overrule the mandate if they didn’t feel like they could safely notify a parent or guardian, but they’d have to miss a day of school and go before a judge who might not support their access to healthcare.
So basically, it put the teens in a horrible spot, and didn’t leave them much choice.
“You can’t legislate good communication between families, and you certainly won’t do it by forcing young people to seek unsafe abortion care,” reproductive justice activist Renee Bracey Sherman wrote. “These laws aren’t about health or safety – quite the opposite. They don’t improve quality of care. They simply place yet another barrier in front of young people’s ability to make the best decision for the personal circumstances.”
According to the Associated Press, this is why the law has been found unconstitutional:
“The majority opinion written by Justice Daniel Winfree states that the court is not concerned with whether abortion is right or wrong or whether abortions should be available to minors without restriction. He said the focus in this case is on whether the law complies with the constitution’s equal protection provisions. It does not, he said.
Justice Dana Fabe, who was chief justice when the case was heard, in a concurring opinion said that while she disagreed with the conclusion that the law violates equal protection, she believes it violates fundamental privacy rights. ‘I believe that the Alaska Constitution permits a parental notification law, but not one that contains provisions that are among the most restrictive of any state’s notification laws,’ her concurrence states.”
This is great news for Alaska, and hopefully other states will soon follow suit.