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
5/1/2015 House Reverses DC Law Banning Reproductive Health Discrimination by Employers - The US House of Representatives voted Thursday night to overturn a Washington, DC, law that makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who use their insurance to cover procedures like in-vitro fertilization or abortion and contraception like birth control pills and IUDs for themselves, their spouses, or their children.
The District's council passed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act last year. . . .
4/30/2015 400 Women and Children Have Been Rescued From Boko Haram in Nigeria - In two different operations in under a week, Nigerian troops have rescued more than 400 women and children who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram.
On Tuesday, Nigerian troops announced they rescued 200 girls and 93 women from Boko Haram - and today news has come out that troops rescued another 160 women and children.
While the news is promising and shows progress made in Nigeria to combat Boko Haram, the girls rescued were not the Chibok girls who inspired the #BringBackOurGirls movement last year. . . .