Voices of Alaska: Judges wrong on parental notification ruling

  • By Jim Minnery
  • Wednesday, October 5, 2016 4:00pm
  • Opinion

When the Alaska Supreme Court recently overturned the law that returned to parents the right to be involved when their minor daughter was seeking an abortion, many people were deflated and irate wondering what they could do to counter such an egregious act of judicial overreach. This blatantly partial ruling thwarted the will of more than 90,000 Alaskans who had voted back in 2010, in overwhelming fashion, to make it law through a statewide initiative.

Now is your chance to do something.

When you vote Nov. 8, you will have a constitutional given opportunity to retain or non-retain Alaska Supreme Court Justices Joel Bolger and Peter Maassen — two members of the Court who took away the God-given authority parents have to look out for the safety and welfare of their very own children.

In the Bible, the essential role of judges was to rule according to a law external to themselves. God told Ezekiel that the priests would act as judges saying “In a dispute they shall take their stand to judge; they shall judge it according to My laws and My statutes.” Ezekiel 44:24. Judges do not act above the law. They are under the law of a Holy God.

Many will claim that Justices Bolger and Maassen are fine Alaskans with wonderful “judicial temperaments” but that is not what Alaskans are voting on. Just as U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel Alito are far apart when it comes to judicial philosophies and most often differ in their opinions, so do Justices Bolger and Maassen differ from the 90,000 Alaskans who knew in 2010 and still know that the law should protect the right of parents to be involved when their minor children are making major medical decisions.

Your voice matters and should be counted.

In the Alaska Supreme Court’s ruling in 2007 that overthrew a parental consent law, the Court had the audacity to tell to the people that a parental notice law would be constitutionally permissible. It was basically an invite to pass a parental notice law. That is what was done. When it got back into the Court’s hands, they flip flopped ruling that the parental notice law was unconstitutional.

Here are just a few of their corrupt statements from their parental consent ruling:

“And contrary to the arguments of Planned Parenthood, we determine that the constitution permits a statutory scheme which ensures that parents are notified so that they can be engaged in their daughters’ important decisions in these matters.”

“There exists a less burdensome and widely used means of actively involving parents in their minor children’s abortion decisions: parental notification. The United States Supreme Court has recognized, in a different context, that ‘notice statutes are not equivalent to consent statutes because they do not give anyone a veto power over a minor’s abortion decision.’ And many states currently employ this less restrictive approach.”

“As we have recognized in the past, the State has a special, indeed compelling, interest in the health, safety and welfare of its minor citizens and may take affirmative steps to safeguard minors from their own immaturity.”

“Currently, fifteen states have notification statutes in place. Although the precise details of these statutes vary, they all prohibit minors from terminating a pregnancy until their parents have been notified and have been afforded an appropriate period of time to actively involve themselves in their minor children’s decision-making process. Stated another way, these statutes seek to involve parents, not by giving them ‘veto power’, but by giving them notice and time to consult with and guide their daughters through this important decision. As such, although parental notification statutes undoubtedly burden the privacy rights of minors, they do not go so far as to shift a portion of those rights to parents.”

Although Justices Bolger and Maassen were not part of that 2007 ruling, their agreement to throw out the parental notice law shows that the Constitution and democratic decisions of the people mean nothing to them. This latest decision that threw out parental notice is incredibly dishonest and is the product of an intellectually and morally corrupt judiciary.

But have hope. You have the authority and opportunity to right a wrong. To, in their words, “veto” these two from ever making such a ruling again.

On Nov. 8, please vote “No” on Alaska Supreme Court Justices Joel Bolger and Peter Maassen.

Jim Minnery is President of Alaska Family Action.

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