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State Supreme Court Rules Alaska's Parental Consent Act Unconstitutional


November 05, 2007
Monday AM

(SitNews) - In a 3-2 vote Friday morning, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled Alaska's Parental Consent Act unconstitutional. The PCA, passed by the Alaska Legislature in 1997, requires girls 16 and younger to obtain parental consent before getting an abortion. The court decided the law burdens a minor girl's fundamental right to reproductive freedom.

"It is outrageous that a minor girl can get an abortion without parental consent," said Governor Palin. "The State Supreme Court has failed Alaska by separating parents from their children during such a critical decision, moving in the exact opposite direction from the law's intent."

Governor Palin has instructed Attorney General Talis Colberg to file a petition for rehearing. Twenty-six states have parental consent laws that are in effect. Sixteen states have parental notification statutes in effect.

"Our court is out of step with mainstream judicial decisions and our citizens," Governor Palin said. "This decision is clearly a case of legislating from the bench."

In 1997, the Alaska Legislature passed the law that required girls 16 years and younger to obtain parental consent before getting an abortion. Justice Walter Carpeneti, one of the two dissenting justices, recognized the will of the state in his dissent:

"In 1997, faced with competing interests of the highest constitutional level ­ an underage pregnant girl's constitutional right to privacy in deciding whether to terminate her pregnancy, her parents' constitutional right (and duty) to protect her best interests, and the state's compelling interests in protecting the children against their own immaturity ­ the Alaska Legislature carefully crafted the Alaska Parental Consent Act in an effort to recognize and protect all of these interests. That law is fully consistent with United States Court precedent, yet today's opinion strikes it down. Because this court's rejection of the legislature's thoughtful balance is inconsistent with our own case law and unnecessarily dismissive of the legislature's role in expressing the will of the people, I respectfully dissent."


Source of News:

Office of the Governor


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Ketchikan, Alaska