Planned Parenthood Sues Alaska Over Parental Notification

An Alaskan Planned Parenthood operator has filed a lawsuit against the parental notification law, alleging it will force scared pregnant youths to take on abuse from parents and total strangers.

Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest is suing the state of Alaska over the recently passed law. Clover Simon, vice president of the operating agency, says the law is an invasion of privacy and violates the equal protection clause.

"We're asking them to go before strangers and defend why they're choosing to terminate a pregnancy. For any woman that would be a horrifying experience and then imagine if you're a scared, pregnant teen," Simon told Alaska's NBC affiliate KTUU.

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Alaska is the 35th state to require some kind of parental notification or consent to obtain an abortion. Voters approved the law during its August primary.

According to the law, abortion practitioners must notify a minor's parents at minimum 48 hours prior to performing the procedure and obtain permission. The law also provides a judicial by-pass where teens from abusive families can go before a judge to obtain permission. Simon believes the judicial option is intrusive.

Minors who were physically, sexually or emotionally abused by a parent, guardian or custodian are exempt from the notification in court as long as they have another person from the family, health or social services departments or law enforcement that can provide signed and notarized documentation that the abuse occurred.

The Alaska Family Council, which lobbied for the legislation, released a statement saying that voters passed the notification law and Planned Parenthood should stay out of the issue.

There has been no word yet about when the lawsuit will head to trial. The parental notification law, meanwhile, will take effect on Dec. 14. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest operates five clinics in Alaska as well as clinics in Idaho and Washington. Neither Idaho nor Washington have parental notification laws.

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