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New Measure Puts Alaskan Teens At Risk

Written by Pamela Merritt for - News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Last week I traveled from St. Louis Missouri to beautiful Anchorage, Alaska to volunteer with the No on 2 Campaign and help Alaskans fight a proposed parental notification ballot measure.  On Tuesday August 24, 2010 Alaskans voted in favor of the parental notification measure by a ratio of 55 percent to 45 percent. Even in pro-choice communities parental notification measures are challenging and people often find themselves torn between parental rights and the rights of teens.  Five days on the ground talking to voters in Anchorage, Alaska really drove home what’s at stake for reproductive justice, voters and for Alaskan teens. 

At first glance parental notification seems so simple – adults like the idea of knowing what’s going on in the lives of teens.  The good thing is that most teens, including Alaskan teens, do communicate with their parents.  But some teens in abusive family situations would face serious harm should their parents be notified of their pregnancy.  Parental notification mandates don’t discriminate and so-called safeguards like judicial by-passes are all too often better in theory than practice.

Alaskans Against Government Mandates is a coalition of teachers, nurses, doctors, social workers, Planned Parenthood supporters, faith leaders and other Alaskans who joined together in hope of defeating Ballot Measure 2.  Alaskans from all walks of life oppose parental notification because they agreed that it was an unnecessary abortion restriction that would put teens at risk while doing nothing to reduce unplanned teen pregnancies. Read more