Alaska Attorney General rejects proposed abortion initiative (UPDATED)
JUNEAU, Alaska: Alaska's new Attorney General John Burns says that a proposed abortion initiative for the 2012 ballot is unconstitutional. "The proposed bill meets the 'clearly unconstitutional' standard because it would supersede a woman's constitutional right to privacy. This right is a federal constitutional right recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade," said the attorney general's filed opinion. Burns is recommending that the initiative be rejected by the lieutenant governor.
The initiative, primarily sponsored by Clinton Desjarlais of Anchorage, calls for the protection of "the natural right to life and body of all mankind from the beginning of biological development. We the People affirm that the natural right to life and body of the unborn child supersedes the statutory right of the mother to consent to the injury or death of her unborn child. In life threatening situations the law of necessity shall dictate between the life of the mother and her child," according to the filed text.According to the Alaska Division of Elections, a similar application was received on August 24, 2009. After a review of the application, it was certified by the Lieutenant Governor of Alaska on October 22, 2009. The one year signature filing deadline was November 5, 2010, however supporters failed to submit sufficient signatures.
UPDATE: On January 11 Lieutenant Governor of Alaska Mead Treadwell announced the rejection of the proposed initiative. "I was convinced the controlling case law made this clearly unconstitutional," he said. Treadwell added that while he prefers to let voters decide on the issues, the recent legal opinions on the issue said there was no question it would be declared unconstitutional.
In reaction to the initiative's rejection initiative sponsor Desjarlais said, "My tentative intent is to litigate this, and to challenge in court the denial of the right to the initiative process."
- Anchorage Daily News, "Abortion initiative ruled unconstitutional" 11 Jan. 2011
- Associated Press, "New AG says abortion measure is unconstitutional" 12 Jan. 2010
- Alaska Elections Division, "Natural Right to Life Initiative" retrieved 12 Jan. 2011
- JuneauEmpire.com, "State rejects anti-abortion ballot measure," January 12, 2011