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Alaska judge upholds parental notification abortion law

An Alaskan Superior Court judge on Monday refused to block a law requiring parental notification for women under the age of 18 to have an abortion [JURIST news archive], allowing the law to take effect Tuesday. The law was approved by voters in August but was challenged [complant, PDF] by Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest [advocacy website]. Judge John Suddock declined to enjoin the law [AP report] but did make several changes. Suddock struck provisions allowing fines and imprisonment for those who violate the law and allowing doctors to be held liable for damages. Planned Parenthood plans to appeal the ruling.

In 2007, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that a state law requiring parental consent before teens under the age of 17 can have an abortion, violates the teens' constitutional right to privacy. The court suggested, however, that a law simply requiring parental notification without consent would probably be valid. More than 30 states require some type of parental involvement before minors can have an abortion—either notification or consent. In March, an Illinois Cook County Circuit Court [official website] judge ruled [JURIST report] that the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995 [text] is constitutional.

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