Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest v. State of Alaska

Juvenile Law Center, along with Legal Voice and National Center for Youth Law, submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court of Alaska on behalf of Planned Parenthood, arguing that Alaska’s Parental Notification Law (“PNL”), which requires minors to notify their parents when they choose to have an abortion, violates equal protection under the Alaska Constitution.

Alaska’s medical emancipation statutes allow pregnant minors to obtain all non-abortion health care without parental notification. Our brief argues that pregnant minors who choose to abort are similarly situated to those who opt to carry their pregnancies to term, as well as those who seek all other pregnancy-related care, as established by the Court’s precedent.

Juvenile Law Center also argued that the state has failed to establish any compelling reason for the Parental Notification Law or for discriminating against a class of pregnant minors. The law does not advance the asserted state interests of enhancing parental involvement, promoting minors’ health, and protecting youth from their own immaturity, nor do any of the law’s reasons provide sufficient justification for burdening pregnant minors who opt to abort while not imposing the same restrictions on other pregnant minors in the exercise of their fundamental privacy rights. Moreover, the highest courts of New Jersey, California, and Florida have all held that similar parental notification and/or parental consent laws violated their respective state Constitutions.

The Supreme Court of Alaska held that “the Parental Notification Law violates the Alaska Constitution’s equal protection guarantee” and cannot be enforced.