Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest v. State of Alaska
What's at stake
- The right of parents to be notified when their minor daughters are seeking an abortion.
- The right of parents to have the opportunity to assist their daughters in life-altering decisions.
In 2010, Alaska voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure that required abortionists to notify the parents of minors prior to performing abortions on their children. Planned Parenthood challenged the law, claiming that it was unconstitutional.
In October 2012, a trial court upheld most of the law concluding that it is reasonable and constitutional.
“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,” the court said in its decision. “Parental notification undoubtedly can open doors to unconsidered options for an otherwise isolated young woman.”
Planned Parenthood appealed the decision, and in February 2014, ADF allied attorney Kevin Clarkson argued in support of the law before the Alaska Supreme Court. Unfortunately, in July 2016, the Alaska Supreme Court struck down the voter-approved state law.
“We’re disappointed that the court elevated the demands of abortionists over the rights of parents,” added ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden, co-counsel in the case. “The majority of Alaskans supported the Parental Involvement Law and adopted it through a state ballot initiative because it is entirely reasonable. It is very unfortunate the Alaska Supreme Court chose not to give parents an opportunity to counsel and support their daughters when facing a difficult situation—the very opportunity that the court itself previously said that the state constitution permits.”
Our role in this case
Alliance Defending Freedom is co-counsel with ADF allied attorney Kevin Clarkson.