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Alaska high court strikes down voter-approved abortion notification law


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNS) — In a 4-1 decision July 22, the Alaska Supreme Court struck down a voter-approved law that required at least one parent to be notified before an abortion practitioner could perform an abortion on a minor girl.

The law included an option for a judge to bypass the notification requirement in special circumstances.

Voters approved it in 2010 by a 56 to 43 percent margin, making Alaska the first state to pass a parental notification law through a citizen-led initiative. The law was challenged in the state Supreme Court by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of abortions.

In 2012, Anchorage Superior Court Judge John Suddock upheld major portions of the law, concluding that “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.”

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