Should Parents Be Notified Before Child's Abortion? Planned Parenthood, ADF Argue in Alaska Court

The Alliance Defending Freedom has argued before the Alaska Supreme Court on Wednesday that parents need to be notified when their child seeks an abortion, something which Planned Parenthood is disputing.

"Abortionists don't care more about children than parents do," said ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden, co-counsel in the case, in a statement Alliance Defending Freedom. "Alaska's Parental Involvement Law, which an overwhelming majority of citizens adopted through a state ballot initiative, is a reasonable and constitutional measure. It ensures that parents may exercise their right and responsibility as parents to counsel their daughters in one of life's most difficult moments."

ADF is defending Alaska's 2010 voter-approved Ballot Measure 2, which requires at least one parent to be notified before a minor child can go through with an abortion. The court previously stated that Alaska's Constitution permits a statutory scheme which ensures that parents are notified so that they can be engaged in their daughters' important decisions in these matters.

In a previous ruling in October 2012, the Alaska Superior Court for the 3rd Judicial District at Anchorage upheld most of the law, except for one provision which allowed parents to sue if abortionists fail to obey the law, and another that required clear and convincing evidence at bypass hearings.

"Minors may be pleasantly surprised when underestimated parents support, comfort and affirm them. Or a teen might overlook available resources. Her parents might help raise the child, and so make college or military service feasible. Parental notification undoubtedly can open doors to unconsidered options for an otherwise isolated young woman," the court ruled at the time.

The rights of parents' knowledge and consent on their children's abortion and contraceptives decisions have been challenged in a number of cases previously, including on a federal level when age restrictions were removed in 2013 on the sale of the Plan B drug, commonly called "the morning-after pill."

Although President Barack Obama's administration tried to stop the change in law, conservative groups were upset when it eventually gave up in July.

"Though President Obama himself has said 'as the father of two daughters, I think it is important for us to make sure that we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine,' his administration has abandoned common sense and will allow our nation's teens and young girls to have access to a highly powerful drug forty times stronger than birth control," said Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, in a statement then.

"I sincerely fear for the future health and wellness of women and children, as doctors, parents, and pharmacists are eliminated from this very serious conversation about sexual activity, pregnancy, fertility, and overall health."

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