Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Alaska Attorney General John Burns Rejects Proposed "Natural Right To Life" Or Personhood Initiative; Separate From Parental Notification Law On Teenage Abortions

Alaska's new Attorney General John Burns has recommended that Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who is responsible for certifying all prospective statewide ballot initiatives, refuse to certify a proposed "Natural Right to Life" initiative. "Natural Right to Life" initiatives are also referred to as "Personhood" initiatives.

It should be noted that this Natural Right to Life initiative is separate and distinct from the Parental Notification Initiative passed by Alaska voters on August 24th, 2010. The state continues to defend the Parental Notification Law against the judicial attacks by Planned Parenthood.

Burns opines that the Natural Right to Life initiative meets the "clearly unconstitutional" standard because it would supersede a woman’s constitutional right to privacy. He maintains this right is a federal constitutional right recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade.

Designated 10NRTL, the initiative, which can be read HERE, would change Alaska law so that “the natural right to life and body of the unborn child supersedes the statutory right of the mother to consent to the injury or death of her unborn child.” The assumption is that life begins at the very moment of conception, and is also assumed to be sentient, or intelligent life, from that moment. This assumption remains vigorously disputed in our society, although the Left is far more pro-choice than the Right.

Alaska's leading pro-life lobbies, which embraced the Parental Notification Initiative, did not embrace the Natural Right to Life Initiative. In fact, many pro-lifers are opposed to "personhood" initiatives. In November 2009, three leading Nevada pro-life lobbies issued a statement opposing a similar measure in Nevada. Their justification:

-- The Nevada initiative was so vague and general that it might not have even applied to abortion at all.
-- The Nevada personhood amendment could not have overturned Roe v Wade.
-- The Nevada amendment could have harmed the Pro-Life movement by giving pro-abortion courts more power to decide all matters relating to abortion, such as parental notification, informed consent, and taxpayer funding of abortion. These matters should be decided by the elected representatives of the people--state legislatures and Congress, not the unelected courts.

The Alaska Natural Right to Life initiative would have similar effects here. A proposed Colorado personhood initiative crashed and burned by a 3-1 No vote in November 2010.

Attorney General Burns has made a smart decision. This will prevent the state from having to fight another pro-life battle, and permit it to concentrate its resouces more fully on defending the parental notification law under attack by Planned Parenthood. It is important to fight this battle on defensible territory, and take back the right to life one step at a time. The desired incremental steps:

(1). Successfully defund Planned Parenthood and all other pro-abortion lobbies which promote elective abortion. We should not be indirectly financing elective abortion with taxpayer dollars.

(2). Successfully implement and defend parental notification laws. Get parental supremacy enshrined once again.

(3). Upgrade parental notification laws to parental consent laws.

(4). Overturn Roe v. Wade, outlaw elective abortion in the United States. Better define and guarantee therapeutic, or medically necessary abortion so that a woman doesn't have to choose between her life/health and bringing a baby to term.


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