Sunday, March 28, 2010

Why The Alaska Parental Notification Initiative Is So Important: Ballard High School Facilitates Seattle Teenage Girl's Abortion Without Telling Mom

On March 16th, 2010, pro-life and pro-family advocates won a victory in Alaska when a Superior Court judge ruled against Planned Parenthood of Alaska's effort to block a voter initiative that would create a requirement that doctors notify a parent if a girl under 18 wants an abortion. Judge Frank Pfiffner wrote that while language in the initiative needed to be tweaked, it is valid to be taken to voters. Pfiffner has sent it back to the lieutenant governor's office for drafting of a better summary for voters, according to his opinion issued Tuesday March 16th. The initiative, which received far more than the minimum number of petition signatures necessary for approval, is scheduled to go to voters during the state primary election on August 24th.

Read the initiative, designated 09PIMA, HERE. Specifically, initiative sponsors want the doctor performing an abortion to inform a parent at least 48 hours before the procedure. The proposal would not require consent of a parent. The initiative is championed by the Alaska Family Council and Alaskans for Parental Rights.

A recent event in Washington State further underscores the need for this initiative in Alaska. On March 23rd, 2010, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that the mother of a Ballard High School student is fuming after the health center on campus helped facilitate her daughter's abortion during school hours. The mother, identified only as "Jill," says the clinic kept the information confidential. Jill says her daughter, a pro-life advocate who is on the school's honor roll, was given a pass, put in a taxi and sent off to have an abortion during school hours, all without her family knowing.

"We had no idea this was being facilitated on campus," said Jill. "They just told her that if she concealed it from her family, that it would be free of charge and no financial responsibility."

Jill thinks she was misled by the school in the first place. When she signed a health consent form for her 15-year-old daughter, Jill figured it meant her daughter could go to the Ballard Teen Health Center located inside the high school for an earache, a sports physical, even birth control, but not for help terminating a pregnancy. "She took a pregnancy test at school at the teen health center," she said. "Nowhere in this paperwork does it mention abortion or facilitating abortion."

The Seattle School District says it doesn't run the health clinics at high schools. Swedish Medical Center runs the clinic at Ballard High and protects the students' privacy. According to T.J. Cosgrove of the King County Health Department, "At any age in the state of Washington, an individual can consent to a termination of pregnancy". Alaska's current law is identical. This story was also covered by KOMO Channel 4 and ABC News, and discussed on Stormfront.

This is why we drafted a parental notification initiative in Alaska. Although parental consent was tossed aside by the Alaska Supreme Court in November 2007, justices hinted that a law requiring only parental notification might be more courtproof. Children are still considered wards of the state, to be under the operational command and control of a responsible adult, and parental notification at the very least is required to guarantee parental rights.

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