Parental Consent Law May Be on Alaska Ballot

Bristol Palin babyA group calling themselves “Alaskans For Parental Rights” kicked off their campaign last week to get a parental consent law on the Alaska ballot, which would require that minors seeking an abortion obtain written parental approval in order to have the procedure. The ballot initiative must receive 30,000 signatures before it is officially up for a vote. Planned Parenthood of Alaska isn’t waiting for that to happen, though. They’ve already come out on the offensive.

Planned Parenthood says a majority of teens who seek abortions in Alaska already bring their parents, and those who don’t have strong reasons.

“The teens that don’t bring their parents generally have some pretty extenuating circumstances in their lives, and those are the young women we’re especially worried about,” said Clover Simon, the Alaska vice president of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest.

Worried, Planned Parenthood says, because those teens often come from abusive homes, and making parental consent to get an abortion won’t help.

“You can’t mandate parental communication and family communication if it’s not already in place when the unplanned pregnancy happens,” Simon said. “It isn’t going to start because there’s a law in place.”

Here’s the deal . . . the group calls themselves “Alaskans for Parental Rights,” but shouldn’t they be called “Alaskans for Grandparental Rights?” If they truly cared about their daughters, they would have faith in them to make the best decisions about their bodies. These wing nuts are all about the “poor little unborn babies.” So aren’t they really after granparents’ rights?

But semantics aside, let’s look at the reality of parental consent laws. As Simon so rightly pointed out, the teens who don’t notify their parents are usually in very precarious positions. They could be the victims of incest or physical abuse. So how does approaching their parents for permission to get an abortion help that situation? Teens who have a good relationship with their parents are going to tell them about the abortion, anyway. The statistics don’t lie.

I’m not really sure what the politics in Alaska are like – I can only venture to guess that a state that would elect Sarah Palin to be the governor would most likely approve a parental consent law. And there’s the rub . . . Bristol Palin is the new poster child for “abstinence-only education.” Genius, ya’ll. Genius.


  1. Mrs. Mastro says:

    Silly! Those poor abused girls can just get a lawyer and petition a judge if they want to get around asking daddy for permission to get an abortion!

    Seriously, though, this is a big issue. If you live in the lower 48, at least there is a chance that you can get to a nearby state and by-pass this bullshit (a small chance, but at least there’s a tiny shred of hope for you!)

    Maybe Alaskan girls can go to Russia to get an abortion. Apparently, you can see it from Sarah Palin’s house!

  2. At the clinic where I work, girls who can’t for whatever reason tell their parents about the abortion go through the judicial bypass process Mrs Mastro mentioned, and it’s a hassle. Lucky for us in the Philly area we have a great feminist, prochoice lawyer we refer them too, but it does delay the abortion process for about a week.

    This obviously complicates things. If she’s in a precarious situation (which minors usually are if they can’t inform their legal guardian of the abortion), it forces her to be in that situation for that much longer. Waiting a week may force her to have to come up with more money for the abortion. Nothing about parental consent laws are about helping girls or their parents at all. They’re about making access to abortion that much more difficult for those who may need it most.

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