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
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .