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State Urges Reconsideration of Parental Notification Act Initiative

December 23, 2010, Juneau, Alaska - In an effort to reinstate key parts of the Parental Notification Act Initiative, the State of Alaska today filed a motion to reconsider. A Superior Court judge last week upheld the core provisions requiring parental notice, however the judge struck down the various penalties for physicians who violate the law and the application of a higher "clear and convincing" standard of proof in court proceedings. That could result in an order allowing a minor to get an abortion without parental notice.

"One of the most critical duties of the Department of Law is to defend validly enacted laws," Governor Parnell said. "And that includes, in this instance, the rights and responsibilities of parents to know and have the chance to discuss medical procedures such as abortion with their children. I will continue to work to ensure that Alaska's families are represented and that the law truly reflects the will of the people."

"Eliminating the consequences of the violation has the potential for lessening the effectiveness of the statute," Attorney General John Burns said. "Likewise, requiring a judge to make findings under a higher standard of proof before allowing a pregnant child to obtain an abortion through a process where parents do not even get notice or an opportunity to be heard protects parents' rights, as well as the minor's rights. The Department of Law has presented strong arguments for letting these key parts of the initiative stand as passed by voters."     

The Parental Notification Law was approved by voters in August.

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