In a decision issued earlier this week, an Alaskan Superior Court judge upheld the constitutionality of a state law requiring parental notification for women under 17 who are seeking an abortion. It is likely that the case will be appealed and considered before Alaska's state Supreme Court.
Judge John Suddock found that the requirement does not infringe on a girl's right to privacy, due process, nor amount to unfair treatment, despite the fact that a teen can seek prenatal care without parental knowledge. Despite upholding the law, in his lengthy decision Judge Suddock "found abortion was, by and large, safe and that parental notification didn't make it safer" and that teens most likely to seek the procedure "were largely mature enough to make their own decisions".
In response to the judgment, Andrew Beck, staff attorney with the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project said, "This law ignores the fact that for some pregnant teens, parental involvement of seeking the consent of a judge just isn't a realistic option." Beck also noted an added burden on Alaskan teens who "may have to travel long distances and take time away from school to attend a judicial hearing."
This parental notification law arose after a highly contested August 2010 voter initiative. The law took effect in December of the same year. The law permits a judicial bypass, but has been shown difficult for young girls without the means to navigate it. The law does not require parental consent; however, if a parent does not consent to the abortion, there is a 48 hour waiting period before the procedure can be performed.
Media Resources: Anchorage Daily News 10/10/12; Alaskan Dispatch 10/09/12; Chicago Tribune 10/09/12; Feminist News Wire 12/15/10
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .