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An underage teenager's right to privacy will be weighed against her parent's right to know that she is seeking an abortion when Alaska voters go to the polls Tuesday.
Ballot Measure 2 would require doctors considering an abortion for a girl under 18 to notify her parent or guardian. Exceptions would be allowed for victims of abuse by a parent or guardian. A girl could get an abortion without parental notice with a notarized statement about the abuse signed by an adult relative or authorized official.
A second ballot measure, No. 1, seeks to ban municipal governments and school districts from spending public money to lobby. The measure has drawn opposition from the Alaska Municipal League, AARP Alaska, the Alaska Public Interest Research Group, multiple unions, the Anchorage and Fairbanks chambers of commerce, Associated General Contractors and the League of Women Voters.
The parental notification measure has drawn heated debate on both sides.
It's not a parental consent law. The Legislature passed such a law, but the state Supreme Court in 2007 ruled it unconstitutional, violating a teenager's right to privacy.
The ballot measure would require doctors to inform a parent or guardian if an underage teen seeks an abortion, personally calling a teen's parent.
If a guardian refused consent, the abortion could still be performed -- after a 48-hour waiting period.
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union-Alaska are against the measure and contributed heavily to the group opposing it, Alaskans Against Government Mandates.
Spokeswoman Rhiannon Good says most teenage girls will go to their parents if they're pregnant but some cannot because of their risky home life.
Supporters of the measure say girls as young as 14 should not be getting abortions without their parents' knowledge. Bernadette Wilson, campaign manager for Alaskans for Parental Rights, says a court decision removed parents from the equation and a yes vote on Ballot Measure 2 will allow them back in.
"We're here because the courts took away a parent's right," she said.
Ballot Measure 1 would ban public funds for political campaigns and lobbying by state and local government agencies, including school districts. Public money could not be used to lobby to pass a law or ask for public money.
Any entity that lobbied or campaigned would be barred from receiving public funds. The measure would ban political contributions by government contract holders and members of their families, and it would ban legislators and staff from being employed by government contract holders for two years after leaving state service.
A Libertarian group backing the measure said it would suspend its campaign because Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell crafted a ballot title that was biased against the measure.
The Alaska Public Offices Commission this month proposed a $340,000 fine for Alaskans for Open Government, claiming the group backing the measure missed deadlines to report contributions and identify donors.
The National Education Association, the Alaska State Employees Association and the Alaska Public Employees Association donated heavily to the group formed to oppose the measure, Stop the Gag Law.