Don’t Force Alaskan Teens to Notify Their Parents Before Receiving an Abortion

Target: Alaskan Legislature

Goal: Don’t require that parents be notified when pregnant teens under the age of 17 receive abortions

Recently, the Alaskan Superior Court upheld the constitutionality of a law that requires pregnant teens under the age of 17 to notify their parents before seeking an abortion. While the parents are not required to give their consent for the abortion to be performed, a lack of consent would require the teenager to wait another 48 hours to receive an abortion.

In the decision, abortion was cited as a very safe procedure that likely would not increase in safety with the added parental notification. However, this did not change the overall ruling that the challenged law was in line with the Constitution.

The law, passed in the fall of 2010 as a result of a voter initiative, does have a provision that allows for pregnant teens to get a judiciary bypass through the courts, but historically these provisions are hardly utilized, as teens do not often have the means to go before the court and plead their case. Parental notification can also be dangerous for teens who became pregnant as a result of incest or if they come from abusive homes, as an unexpected pregnancy could escalate the level of violence.

Parental notification laws violate these young women’s constitutional right to privacy. The right to choose to have an abortion is the teen’s alone and not her parents’. Please sign the petition letter below. By lending your voice, you are letting Alaska and other states know that the right to privacy is in fact a right and not contingent upon politics and personal views. As the Superior Court judge claimed, parental notification does nothing to increase the safety of abortion procedures; an unnecessary law has no need to stay on the books.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Alaskan Legislators,

Parental notification laws do not help to improve the health or the wellbeing of pregnant teens. For these parental notification laws to be justified, we would have to live in a world where parents are supportive and understanding of their pregnant teenager in every circumstance; however, this scenario is not the case in a lot of households.

This law assumes that the pregnant teen is not a victim of incest or domestic abuse. If the young woman falls into either of those categories, life could be made substantially worse for her, if not dangerously so.

This is why a pregnant woman and her choices need to remain between her and her doctor. You cannot assume you know these women’s circumstances and that parental notification is a good and feasible action for her to take. Please pass legislation to repeal this law and ensure that these women are safe and have access to any choice they may decide for their pregnancy.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Public-Domain-Image.com

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2 Comments

  1. Good petition. The petition letter, however, leaves out one of the primary reasons why such a law endangers the health and life of a teenaged girl. That is that many girls are too embarrassed or not comfortable with telling their parents that they are pregnant and seek an abortion. In such cases a girl may seek an undercover abortion just to avoid telling her parents. Girls have died of back-door abortion complications and their mothers have only found out when the girl was dying in a hospital later. Becky Bell was a 16-year-old who got an infection from getting a back door abortion when it was legal, but she couldn’t bring herself to tell her parents. Many girls do not want to upset their parents or cannot face their parents making them feel ashamed. Your letter was good on the violence angle, but shame can kill, too.

  2. Kristen Carey says:

    Thanks for the feedback Lee! You are absolutely right. Shame is a huge killer and another reason why women may seek unsafe conditions in which to have an abortion. Just goes to show you how hurtful laws like this are!

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Signatures

  • Jeanie Streit
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