Politics & Government

Lawsuit challenges Alaska's abortion parental notification ballot initiative

A ballot initiative aiming to change Alaska law so that doctors performing abortions on girls under 18 would have to notify a parent is being challenged in state court today.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Jeff Feldman on behalf of clients that include Planned Parenthood of Alaska, says the lieutenant governor should not have validated the initiative scheduled to go before voters this August.

Currently, there are no laws in Alaska restricting a girl from getting an abortion. But backers of the initiative, including former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman, want that to change.

The lawsuit being argued in Superior Court today says the initiative should be thrown out because it misleads the public and is technically unlawful. It is the opposition's first move in what is likely to be a series of attempts to kill the measure.

"While we support minors making these decisions with their parents, we just don't think that, practically, that you can mandate good family communications," said Laura Einstein, legal director for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, in a phone interview.

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