(PRESS RELEASE) Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, Dr. Susan Lemagie and Dr. Jan Whitefield filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court in Anchorage today seeking to enjoin the parental notice law (PNL) which is scheduled to go into effect in December. The lawsuit claims that the parental notice law violates the constitutional rights of both minors seeking abortions and physicians providing abortion services. The law makes it a criminal offense for a physician to perform an abortion on a woman under 18 without first giving a parent, custodian or guardian advance notice of the procedure. It creates almost insurmountable obstacles for young women who live in abusive situations, or who live in the bush or off the road system in Alaska.
“This law is dangerous and puts teens at risk” said Clover Simon, Vice President for PPGNW-Alaska. “Parents want to be involved in their teen’s lives but good family communication can’t be mandated. It just doesn’t happen in some families.”
“The PNL will have a particularly harsh impact on young women who live in abusive homes, who cannot involve their parents,” said Janet Crepps, Center for Reproductive Rights Deputy Director in the U.S. Legal Program, and counsel for Planned Parenthood and the two doctors. “The other option available under the PNL is to go to court and get permission from a judge to have an abortion. A court hearing is daunting for a scared, pregnant teen. Even worse, in the many small Alaskan communities, it is also likely to compromise the confidentiality she needs—which means it is not a viable option for her.”
Planned Parenthood and the physicians are represented by Janet Crepps, Center for Reproductive Rights, Laura Einstein and Eve Gartner, Planned Parenthood, Diana Kasdan and Thomas Stenson of the ACLU, and Jeffrey Feldman and Susan Orlansky from the law firm of Feldman, Orlansky &, Sanders.