Judge alters, but doesn't nullify AK parental notification measure

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December 14, 2010

By Al Ortiz

ANCHORAGE, Alaska: A lawsuit that was filed by Planned Parenthood during the week of November 23, 2010 in order to block the state parental notification law now has a ruling. The measure, which was on the August 24, 2010 primary ballot, forbids a minor from getting an abortion without a doctor informing at least one parent before moving forward with the procedure. The proposal also includes enforcing legal penalties on doctors who perform abortions on minors without consent of the minor's parents. Although Superior Court Judge John Suddock ruled that the measure should stand, he stated that doctors should not go to jail for failing to comply with the new law. The ruling was given on December 13, 2010.[1][2]

According to Clover Simon, of Planned Parenthood, "We are pleased that the judge gave a partial injunction. He obviously felt responsibility to let the law go forward if he could." However, Jim Minnery, member of Alaskans for Parental Rights, the group behind the initiative effort to place the measure on the ballot, the ruling makes the law ineffective, since physicians cannot be punished: "What's the incentive for a physician? It's basically a suggestion. It's an Alaska State Suggestion now, under the judge."

During the August primary election, the measure passed with about 55 percent of voters voting 'yes' on the question. According to Jim Minnery at the time, when the measure was approved, "...we're expecting a lawsuit. Planned Parenthood has filed lawsuits in almost every state where parental notification, either statutes or initiatives, have passed, so we expect that to happen."[3]

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