Alaska Passes Parental Notification In Tuesday Primary

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Alaska Passes Parental Notification In Tuesday Primary

Robin Marty

Alaska's Measure 2 will require all teens under 18 seeking abortions tell their parents 48 hours before the procedure, or get judicial bypass.

Alaska teens trying to secure an abortion will need to wait longer now, under a new rule passed with yesterday’s primary that requires them to either notify their parents or get a judicial bypass.

Via Anchorage Daily News:

Alaskans on Tuesday approved a controversial voter initiative requiring parents to be notified before their teen age 17 and younger receives an abortion.

Ballot Measure 2 was one of the most fiercely contested items in the primary election, with total spending by both sides combined nearing $1 million.

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Under the new law, a teen will be able to get around the requirement that her parents be notified if she appears before a judge or provides the doctor notarized statements attesting to abuse at home.

The law approved by voters gives doctors the job of notifying the parent. A doctor who failed to do that could be hit with felony charges and a prison sentence of up to five years.

Judicial bypass can be an onerous process for a teen, as one lawyer in Kentucky can attest.  She is being accused of contempt of court for refusing to provide the full name of a client seeking an abortion.  From The Courier-Journal:
Her legal showdown with Jefferson District Judge Annette Karem began Jan. 27, according to court records, when Adams was representing a girl identified only as “J.J.” in a so-called “bypass hearing,” in which she sought permission to have an abortion without her parents’ consent.

After the teen testified that her parents drink to the point of intoxication every day, leaving her and a younger sister to make their own meals and take care of themselves, Karem ruled that J.J. was mature enough to make her own decision to get an abortion.

But as Adams and her client were leaving the courtroom, Karem demanded that the lawyer reveal the girl’s full name so the judge could report the suspected neglect of the girls, as required under Kentucky’s child-abuse reporting law.

Adams refused, arguing that Kentucky’s parental consent “bypass” law specifically states that the court “shall ensure” that the minor remain anonymous. Moreover, Adams later said, her client specifically directed her not to disclose her name.

“My client disclosed her name to me in confidence,” Adams said. “The rules of lawyer ethics require me to protect that attorney-client communication.”

Karem disagreed and ordered Adams to appear two days later to show why she shouldn’t be found in contempt.

After Adams initially told the judge she knew only the client’s first name and later admitted she knew the full name, Karem the next day issued two citations against her for contempt — one for misleading the court and the other for failing to disclose the name.

Alaska’s new rule should go into effect in mid-December, 90 days after the election results are certified.

Topics and Tags:

Alaska, Measure 2