Groups appealing ruling on abortion

Posted: Tuesday, April 06, 2010

JUNEAU - Two groups want to keep a proposed abortion initiative off the ballot because the language used in petition signature booklets wasn't fully accurate.

The proposal would require parental notice or consent before a minor can have an abortion, with certain exceptions. Currently a minor doesn't need to notify a parent before obtaining an abortion.

ACLU of Alaska and Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest filed a notice of appeal Monday with the state Supreme Court.

Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of ACLU of Alaska, said it's not enough that a superior court judge ordered Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell to rewrite ballot language. Mittman said the proposed initiative should not appear on the ballot because voters weren't given the complete picture of what the measure would do during the signature-gathering process.

Planned Parenthood and ACLU of Alaska argued the language used was misleading and that it didn't state the initiative would restrict existing rights or potentially subject doctors to penalties

Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner last month ordered that Campbell write an "accurate" summary making clear those points. Campbell also was to note that the proposed initiative "revalidates" a parental consent law struck down by the state Supreme Court as unconstitutional for not providing the least restrictive effect to a minor's right to privacy.

Pfiffner wrote that the problem in the case wasn't what was said, but what wasn't said. But Pfiffner stopped short of keeping the proposal from going to voters in the August primary election.

Campbell wasn't immediately available for comment.

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