Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 120

03/09/2009 01:00 PM JUDICIARY


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01:08:19 PM Start
01:08:32 PM HB35
03:23:46 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 35 NOTICE & CONSENT FOR MINOR'S ABORTION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HB 35 - NOTICE & CONSENT FOR MINOR'S ABORTION                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:08:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  35, "An Act relating to notice  and consent for a                                                               
minor's  abortion;  relating  to   penalties  for  performing  an                                                               
abortion;  relating  to  a  judicial   bypass  procedure  for  an                                                               
abortion; relating  to coercion of  a minor to have  an abortion;                                                               
relating to reporting of abortions  performed on minors; amending                                                               
Rule  220, Alaska  Rules  of Appellate  Procedure,  and Rule  20,                                                               
Alaska  Probate  Rules,  relating   to  judicial  bypass  for  an                                                               
abortion; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:08:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL,  speaking as the sponsor,  explained that                                                               
HB 35 pertains to notice and  consent for a minor's abortion, and                                                               
that Alaska's existing  parental consent statute was  found to be                                                               
unconstitutional  by  the  Alaska  Supreme  Court  [in  State  v.                                                             
Planned  Parenthood of  Alaska].   He suggested  that HB  35 will                                                             
outline the  "standing" parents  should have  in a  minor child's                                                               
decision regarding  abortion, and  will provide an  exemption for                                                               
situations involving  "bad-acting" parents;  the question  of how                                                               
[the bill]  shall provide  for these  things in  a constitutional                                                               
manner  is  still to  be  addressed,  however.   He  offered  his                                                               
understanding  that  the Alaska  Supreme  Court  found that  when                                                               
compared to a  minor's right of privacy, there was  not enough of                                                               
a compelling  state interest for  mandating parental  consent for                                                               
an  abortion, and  said  he  disagrees with  that  decision as  a                                                               
matter  of  public  policy,   particularly  given  that  parental                                                               
consent requirements  are in place  with regard to  other medical                                                               
procedures.   He proffered that the  language in HB 35  will give                                                               
parents  a say  in their  minor  daughter's decision  to have  an                                                               
abortion and allow them to protect her from her own immaturity.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL said  he feels  so strongly  that parents                                                               
should be  an integral  part of [a  pregnant minor's  decision to                                                               
have an abortion],  that he is willing to  [challenge the court's                                                               
ruling  via  HB  35],  particularly given  that  the  court  only                                                               
characterized   the   existing   parental  consent   statute   as                                                               
constitutionally suspect.   And although the court  did point out                                                               
that  there  is  a  least-restrictive   means  of  involving  the                                                               
parents, that being to provide  notice, the court still erected a                                                               
barrier,  he opined,  between a  pregnant child  and her  parents                                                               
with regard to consenting to an  abortion.  He offered his belief                                                               
that this is  the only place where such a  barrier exists.  Under                                                               
the bill,  the parents will  have to  have been given  notice and                                                               
must give  consent in order  for their  minor daughter to  get an                                                               
abortion.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   COGHILL  explained   that   the  bill   contains                                                               
exemptions whereby a pregnant minor  can seek an abortion without                                                               
providing  her parents  with notice  or obtaining  their consent.                                                               
Situations  involving incest  or abuse,  an emancipated  minor, a                                                               
married  minor, a  minor serving  in the  armed services,  or the                                                               
court's lack of response to  a judicial bypass request, could all                                                               
result  in a  pregnant minor  obtaining an  abortion without  her                                                               
parents' consent.  The judicial  bypass procedure provided for in                                                               
HB 35, he  opined, follows U.S. Supreme  Court [rulings], whereas                                                               
the  Alaska Supreme  Court  went  too far  when  it "trumped  all                                                               
parental  rights."   At  the very  least,  he concluded,  parents                                                               
should  be  included  in  the  discussion  and  involved  in  the                                                               
decision.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:16:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MANDY O'NEAL COLE,  noting that she has worked with  youth in the                                                               
past,  said that  as a  parent, she  understands that  HB 35  was                                                               
offered in good faith.   She is of the belief,  she said, that it                                                               
is  her  responsibility and  absolute  obligation  to provide  an                                                               
environment in  which her children  will feel that they  can come                                                               
to  her and  discuss difficult  issues, and  said she  hopes that                                                               
should one  of her children face  an issue as big  as an unwanted                                                               
pregnancy, that  he/she would  come to her  for advice,  and that                                                               
this will prove  true for other families as well.   She said that                                                               
as a  good parent, she wants  to have faith in  her children that                                                               
they will  communicate with her  without there  being legislation                                                               
mandating that they do so.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  O'NEAL COLE  said that  she  has known  girls who've  become                                                               
pregnant and  felt pushed  into a corner  such that  they've then                                                               
consumed [harmful]  substances in the hopes  of terminating their                                                               
unwanted  pregnancy "under  the radar."    This is  a very  scary                                                               
thing  to witness,  and  thus  the concept  of  putting any  more                                                               
barriers  between a  girl and  a safe,  legal abortion  is really                                                               
frightening to  her, she remarked,  adding her belief  that doing                                                               
so  will  increase  the  likelihood that  a  pregnant  girl  will                                                               
attempt to  induce an abortion on  her own because she  will feel                                                               
as though she doesn't have any other options.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. O'NEAL  COLE opined  that the problem  with HB  35's judicial                                                               
bypass  provision is  that those  who might  make use  of it  are                                                               
living  with  parents  who are  perpetrating  violence,  threats,                                                               
humiliation,  and  coercion  on  them; girls  living  under  such                                                               
conditions,  therefore,  although   not  legally  prevented  from                                                               
seeking judicial  bypass, are  emotionally prohibited  from doing                                                               
so.   These are  girls who  might not have  the confidence  to go                                                               
before a  judge and  say they  are pregnant  and afraid  of their                                                               
parents,  since girls  who are  afraid to  talk to  their parents                                                               
will probably  also be afraid  to get involved with  the judicial                                                               
system and speak to people  in positions of authority, especially                                                               
when they've been victimized.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. O'NEAL  COLE said that while  she believes that HB  35 is the                                                               
result  of  members'  interest   in  Alaska  families,  she  also                                                               
believes that there are other ways  "to go about this" such as by                                                               
encouraging families  to communicate  openly, and  by encouraging                                                               
sex education and  other healthful practices; in  this way, there                                                               
will  be  less  need  for  abortions and,  when  an  abortion  is                                                               
necessary,  teenage girls  will feel  safe to  either speak  with                                                               
their parents  or get an abortion  on their own if  speaking with                                                               
their parents is not a [safe option].                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:21:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
[Chair Ramras turned the gavel over to Vice Chair Dahlstrom.]                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. O'NEAL  COLE, in response  to questions, reiterated  that she                                                               
is a parent,  relayed that she works for  "victims' services" and                                                               
runs  an  offender  program,  and   said  she  would  agree  that                                                               
sometimes children,  regardless of the facts  before them, cannot                                                               
think straight.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR DAHLSTROM noted that  when her now-grown children were                                                               
younger,  when  they were  afraid  to  come  speak to  her  about                                                               
something [they  did], it  was because they  knew there  would be                                                               
consequences.    She  offered   her  understanding  that  studies                                                               
indicate  that children's  brains  develop at  different rates  -                                                               
males differently  from females, and  differently as a  result of                                                               
different life experiences - and  that they aren't really capable                                                               
of  making [fully  rational] decisions  until they  are in  their                                                               
20s.   She said she questions  what happens to the  girl who gets                                                               
an  abortion  without  telling her  parents  simply  because  she                                                               
wanted to avoid getting into  trouble with her parents; that girl                                                               
then has to live with that decision for the rest of her life.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. O'NEAL COLE said:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     I do  see that  as a  problem, and  ... my  heart would                                                                    
     break for any girl who went  through that.  But I guess                                                                    
     the  bottom line  for  me  is that  [on  the one  hand]                                                                    
     there's that child  who may regret not  having had that                                                                    
     baby when she was a  teenager, versus the child who was                                                                    
     afraid  to go  to  her parents  [and  would] smoke  and                                                                    
     drink and try to cause  her own abortion - because it's                                                                    
     a scary thing.  [And]  ... I've seen girls who believed                                                                    
     that  the more  that they  can drink,  the more  likely                                                                    
     they will  be to  miscarry, and so  she dies,  the baby                                                                    
     dies, [or]  they both are  injured in  a way that  is a                                                                    
     lifelong disaster and tragedy for that family. ...                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Any woman, whether she's 16  or 43, may, down the line,                                                                    
     have second thoughts about having  had an abortion.  As                                                                    
     a mother, I can see that.  ... I love my children and I                                                                    
     think,  ... what  if I  didn't have  them? ...  It'd be                                                                    
     horrible for  me - but at  the same time I  also think,                                                                    
     what if I was ... a  teenager in a relationship with an                                                                    
     abusive boyfriend  who had coerced me  into having sex,                                                                    
     and then  I have  absent parents or  neglectful parents                                                                    
     or  scary parents?   In  any  of those  cases I  think,                                                                    
     wouldn't it  be better for  me to have that  faith that                                                                    
     the State  of Alaska  believes me to  be a  good enough                                                                    
     ... steward  of my  own body to  make the  right choice                                                                    
     for myself?                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     And  while  ... I  certainly  couldn't  ... [say]  that                                                                    
     there  won't ever  be  any regrets,  I  think that's  a                                                                    
     choice  that  every   individual  makes  whenever  they                                                                    
     exercise their free will -  that there could be regrets                                                                    
     eventually - but  in the moment, if that  was the right                                                                    
     decision, then  that was the  right decision,  and it's                                                                    
     hard for me or for any  of you to know, in that moment,                                                                    
     ... what's happening for that girl.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. O'NEAL  COLE, in  response to  a question,  said she  is pro-                                                               
choice,  believes that  a  woman  has the  right  to decide  what                                                               
happens with  her body, and  has supported abortion  rights since                                                               
she was  [a teenager].   She added  that her mother  was pro-life                                                               
but never stopped  her from having her own beliefs.   In response                                                               
to further questions, she offered her  belief that once a baby is                                                               
born, it  has all  the rights  of a person,  but until  then, the                                                               
right of the woman to control  her body and anything within it is                                                               
supreme, and that a  fetus is part of a woman's  body until it is                                                               
able to survive outside of the womb.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:29:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  acknowledged  that somewhere  along  the                                                               
line, the pregnant girl will  make a decision, and his preference                                                               
is for the parents to be  a part of that decision-making process;                                                               
his concern  is that other  individuals and advocacy  groups will                                                               
end up trumping the parents.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. O'NEAL COLE remarked:                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     I  think that  as adults,  we often  try ...  [to] make                                                                    
     thoughtful  suggestions and  thoughtful  rules for  our                                                                    
     children; I think  that that is 100  percent the truth.                                                                    
     And I think that there  will be people who advocate for                                                                    
     different things, all the time,  but that the beauty of                                                                    
     being  an independent  person is  that you  get to  see                                                                    
     that there  are different  opinions out there  and [get                                                                    
     to]  choose the  one what  feels right  for you  at the                                                                    
     time.   So  perhaps ...  a  youngster would  go to  [an                                                                    
     organization  such  as]  Planned  Parenthood  to  learn                                                                    
     about  an abortion,  but  perhaps  that same  youngster                                                                    
     would  talk to  their parent,  as ...  I've had  family                                                                    
     members do, ... about that as  well, and take in all of                                                                    
     the information.   So ...  I think my thoughts  on that                                                                    
     are that too much education  is never a problem, [that]                                                                    
     simply  making   informed  choices  with  all   of  the                                                                    
     available options open to you  is probably the best way                                                                    
     to go.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG,  mentioning  that  he  is  pro-choice,                                                               
noted that the age of consent  for marriage is different than the                                                               
age  of  consent  for  an   abortion,  and  that  the  legal  and                                                               
constitutional basis  for the right  to decide whether or  not to                                                               
have an  abortion is one application  of the theory that  a woman                                                               
has a right  to decide what to  do with her own body.   Isn't the                                                               
right to  marry also the  right to decide  what to do  with one's                                                               
own body?                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. O'NEAL COLE said she does  see some parallels between the age                                                               
of consent for  marriage and the age of consent  for an abortion.                                                               
When considering  the issue of  consent, the safety  and autonomy                                                               
of an individual must also be considered.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG,  remarking that the age  of consent for                                                               
marriage is 18 whereas the age  of consent for an abortion is 17,                                                               
noted that under  AS 25.05.011(a)(3), a person [under  the age of                                                               
18] doesn't  need his/her  parents' consent if  the person  is on                                                               
active duty  in the armed  services.  The bill,  however, doesn't                                                               
seem to contain a similar exemption.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  offered his  understanding that  there is                                                               
such  an exemption.   He  also noted  that a  youngster can  seek                                                               
emancipation at the age of 16.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
[Vice Chair Dahlstrom returned the gavel to Chair Ramras.]                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:35:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LESLEY THOMPSON, after relaying that  she has both worked for and                                                               
volunteered  with  various youth  groups  and  church groups  and                                                               
therefore has  a good sense of  what boys and girls  "are about,"                                                               
said that she is very much in support of HB 35.  She elaborated:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Having worked  with so many  teenagers over my  life, I                                                                    
     don't think  they're ready to make  the rational, moral                                                                    
     decision that  this will (indisc.)  their life  for the                                                                    
     rest of their life.  I've  talked to many people my age                                                                    
     who've had  abortions, and  they ...  have a  hard time                                                                    
     coming  to grips  with what  they did,  and many  times                                                                    
     they'll  even  think about  birthdays  every  year.   I                                                                    
     think it's  a very  difficult decision,  and I  think a                                                                    
     lot  of  times  kids  are very  concerned  [about]  ...                                                                    
     talking with  their parents about something  like this,                                                                    
     but more times  than not [I've] found  that the parents                                                                    
     can  really step  up to  the  plate and  really make  a                                                                    
     difference and really  help that girl ... -  or the boy                                                                    
     - through the situation.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:37:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LATANYA SEMONES, noting that she is Alaska Native and was born                                                                  
and raised in a small community, said she is opposed HB 35.  She                                                                
went on to say:                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     I hope to raise a  family in Alaska someday, my husband                                                                    
     and I, and although I'll  do everything I can to create                                                                    
     an  open,  healthy relationship  with  my  child or  my                                                                    
     children, I know that there  is a possibility that once                                                                    
     my  children  become  teens, they  may  not  always  be                                                                    
     comfortable  coming to  me.   So  in  that instance,  I                                                                    
     would hope  to see  that my  daughter would  still have                                                                    
     access to the information she  seeks for her own health                                                                    
     and safety.  I'm also  concerned about the teenagers in                                                                    
     rural communities  and how this bill  will affect them.                                                                    
     My family  is from the  [Pribilof Islands] and  I still                                                                    
     have  many  family  members  who  live  on  the  remote                                                                    
     islands.   For such a  sensitive issue that may  or may                                                                    
     not involve  abuse, it's  important for  the government                                                                    
     to  ensure  the  safety  of   the  teenagers  in  rural                                                                    
     communities,  instead  of  forcing  communications  and                                                                    
     relationships that  ... may  not even  exist ...  or be                                                                    
     healthy.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     I  can   understand  that  in  this   bill  there's  an                                                                    
     opportunity  for a  court process  so the  teenager can                                                                    
     bypass  parental consent,  but you  have to  understand                                                                    
     how  intimidating  that  would  be,  especially  for  a                                                                    
     teenager in  a rural  community where  that opportunity                                                                    
     is  even more  complicated.   How would  a relative  of                                                                    
     mine  [on]   ...  Saint   George  Island   handle  this                                                                    
     situation if she didn't want  to, or couldn't, tell her                                                                    
     parents, for whatever  reason?  Would she  have to find                                                                    
     a boat to  the neighboring island?   What lengths would                                                                    
     she have  to go  through?  It's  irrational to  think a                                                                    
     young,  scared,  possibly   abused  teenager  in  rural                                                                    
     Alaska would  be able  to get the  help she  needs were                                                                    
     this bill to pass.  Any  risk to a teenager isn't worth                                                                    
     forced communication with parents.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     I'm   completely    supportive   of    healthy   family                                                                    
     communication,  but the  bad  outweighs  the good  here                                                                    
     because this bill would put  Alaska's teenagers at risk                                                                    
     of not seeking help in  a timely manner or, worse, [of]                                                                    
     resorting  to dangerous  measures on  their own.   This                                                                    
     bill does nothing  to protect the health  and safety of                                                                    
     Alaska's  teens,  as  it's not  addressing  a  relevant                                                                    
     issue,  because   teenagers  are  talking   with  their                                                                    
     parents -  they're talking with  other adults  in their                                                                    
     lives  as  well.    This  bill  isn't  solving  a  real                                                                    
     problem;  it's  creating  problems ...  in  an  already                                                                    
     problematic  situation,  and the  government  shouldn't                                                                    
     just dictate to whom teenagers  are talking - it should                                                                    
     foster   opportunities  for   teenagers   to  get   the                                                                    
     information they  seek in a  timely manner,  and that's                                                                    
     the only way to keep them safe and healthy.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:40:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REV ORION  said that he opposes  HB 35.  He  indicated that those                                                               
families with  good communication  skills won't  need legislation                                                               
such  as HB  35 because  the parents  will be  involved in  their                                                               
pregnant child's  decision.  Noting  that he is a  single father,                                                               
he  said he  feels that  it  is his  job  to have  that level  of                                                               
communication with his son, and that  he very much hopes that his                                                               
son would feel  comfortable coming to him regardless  of what the                                                               
situation is knowing that he will  still try to do the best thing                                                               
he can  for him.  If  his son starts making  decisions whereby he                                                               
is putting  himself in  danger and  doesn't communicate  with him                                                               
about  the consequences,  that is  his  failure as  a father,  he                                                               
opined.  He  said he doesn't want or need  any legislation passed                                                               
[mandating  communication], nor  does he  feel it  would be  good                                                               
public policy  to force girls  in an already  difficult situation                                                               
to struggle through even more obstacles.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. ORION  opined that the person  who must carry a  pregnancy to                                                               
term and  give birth should be  the person who retains  the right                                                               
to decide  whether or not  to do so, and  that to take  away that                                                               
person's individual right to control  her own body is un-American                                                               
and un-democratic.   He  surmised that  the goal of  HB 35  is to                                                               
prevent  teenage  girls  from  making  the  decision  to  get  an                                                               
abortion,  since  nothing in  the  bill  addresses the  issue  of                                                               
parents who would  make that same decision  for their 15-year-old                                                               
daughters,  for example.   He  characterized such  a decision  as                                                               
wise more often than not.   In conclusion, he said he thinks that                                                               
HB  35 is  a bad  bill that  will create  more problems  and help                                                               
nothing.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM  asked Mr.  Orion whether he  would wish                                                               
to  be notified  that he  was a  potential grandfather  before an                                                               
abortion was carried out.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. ORION said  that his wish is  that he would have  done a good                                                               
enough job of raising his son  that his son would always come and                                                               
speak with him  about serious issues; however, if  his son didn't                                                               
feel that he could communicate  with him in a cooperative manner,                                                               
then he would rather  that his son would be able  to make his own                                                               
decisions, because  that would  be his own  failure as  a father.                                                               
He  added that  he  trusts and  hopes that  he  will always  keep                                                               
himself open  and understanding enough  that his son  will always                                                               
feel  he  can come  to  him.   If  his  son,  when he  becomes  a                                                               
teenager, gets involved  with a teenage girl and  they conceive a                                                               
baby  but don't  feel  that  they ought  to  have  that baby  and                                                               
neither feel that  they can speak to their parents  about it, Mr.                                                               
Orion  said  that that  would  be  his  and the  girl's  parents'                                                               
failure  as parents.    Because worst  case  scenarios exist,  he                                                               
opined,  "this  has to  be  allowed."    There are  parents  who,                                                               
instead of  actually communicating,  simply pound  their children                                                               
with religious dogma, and there  are parents who pay no attention                                                               
to  their children;  such parents  haven't fostered  the kind  of                                                               
communication necessary in today's  society.  Therefore, he said,                                                               
he  doesn't  think  that  the children  of  such  parents  should                                                               
involve  their   parents  in  a  discussion   about  an  unwanted                                                               
pregnancy.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM argued  that although sometimes religion                                                               
"plays  into  it," so  do  one's  own  life experiences  and  the                                                               
experiences of friends.  She  said she's known men who've learned                                                               
later on  in life that  a girl  they'd gotten pregnant  when they                                                               
were  younger had  chosen  to  have an  abortion,  and those  men                                                               
expressed regret and  grief over not having known about  it.  She                                                               
noted that she's heard from many  people who've said that even if                                                               
their children  do choose  to get  an abortion,  they want  to be                                                               
involved and be there for their  children - they don't want their                                                               
children  to  go  through  such  an  invasive  medical  procedure                                                               
without them being present, because they  want to be able to help                                                               
their  children   with  the   mental,  emotional,   and  physical                                                               
consequences,  particularly  given   that  medical  complications                                                               
could  arise.   She pointed  out  that there  are a  lot of  laws                                                               
making parents liable for there minor children's actions.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ORION said  he understands  that he  is responsible  for his                                                               
minor child's actions and accepts  that responsibility gladly; if                                                               
his son were to destroy  someone's property, for example, then he                                                               
and  his  son,  together,  would   deal  with  the  consequences.                                                               
Fulfilling that  responsibility requires that  he be on  his toes                                                               
when  it comes  to  raising his  son, he  remarked,  but what  he                                                               
doesn't want is for the government  to take control of a person's                                                               
body.  He added, "I don't  care about the regret of a [potential]                                                               
grandparent  who's child  had an  abortion, because  what I  care                                                               
about is  what's going on in  that young girl's head  at the time                                                               
and her  ability to make  a decision about  her life -  ... which                                                               
she's already  made by  having unprotected  sex or  sex [wherein]                                                               
... the  protection did not work;  ... now it's on  her, now it's                                                               
her responsibility, now she has control of her life."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ORION said  that's the  difference between  needing parental                                                               
consent  to give  an aspirin  at school  and parental  consent to                                                               
have  an abortion.    With an  abortion what's  at  issue is  the                                                               
girl's whole  life as well as  the life of the  being inside her,                                                               
and that unborn child, if it is  allowed to be born, will then be                                                               
[being  raised by]  a 15-year-old  mother, for  example, who  has                                                               
parents with  whom she can't  talk.  That's not  setting somebody                                                               
up for success, he opined, and  said he would rather hear stories                                                               
about 15-year-old girls  who did have an  abortion, learned their                                                               
lesson from that, and moved  on to become intelligent women, and,                                                               
then, when they  were ready to have  a child, did so -  that is a                                                               
success story.  That is  more important than someone looking back                                                               
when  he/she is  60,  for example,  and  regretting that  his/her                                                               
daughter chose an abortion, thus  denying him/her the opportunity                                                               
to raise a grandchild.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ORION, in  response to  comments and  a question,  said that                                                               
although he  has met wonderful  people who [are  very religious],                                                               
he  thinks that  it  is common  for  religion to  be  used as  an                                                               
overbearing  force in  the lives  of a  lot of  children in  that                                                               
there is no forgiveness but  instead only punishment.  He assured                                                               
the  committee that  he is  not saying  that there  is a  blanket                                                               
problem with religion  itself, but rather his point  is that even                                                               
young girls  need to have the  same options available to  them as                                                               
older women  with regard to what  happens with their bodies.   In                                                               
conclusion,  he reminded  the committee  that  religion has  been                                                               
used [in the  past by some] to justify slavery  and the slaughter                                                               
of Natives.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:56:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHERYL HUMME said  she would be speaking in opposition  to HB 35.                                                               
She surmised that  it is the sponsor's desire that  there be good                                                               
communication within families in Alaska,  and said that while she                                                               
applauds that  desire, it  doesn't reflect  reality.   Alaska has                                                               
such  significant rates  of child  abuse, domestic  violence, and                                                               
sexual  assault  that  to  assume that  all  children  will  feel                                                               
comfortable approaching their parents  when making such a crucial                                                               
decision  is  just  wrong.    Alaska's  youth  involved  in  such                                                               
circumstances  should not  be further  penalized  by making  them                                                               
overcome yet  another hurdle in their  lives - that of  having to                                                               
obtain  parental consent  in  order  to have  an  abortion.   Can                                                               
healthy families really  be legislated?  Noting  that many people                                                               
often express  concern that a teenage  girl may later on  in life                                                               
regret her decision  to have an abortion, she  asked, "What about                                                               
the effect on her life if she  becomes a teen mother - what about                                                               
the effect  on both  of their  lives, the  mother and  the baby?"                                                               
The reality is that teen mothers  have less money for the rest of                                                               
their lives,  and that children who  grow up in poverty  do worse                                                               
in school.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. HUMME, concurring that it's the  desire of most parents to be                                                               
there  for their  children, questioned  whether the  committee is                                                               
really willing  to take  away a teenage  girl's right  to control                                                               
her  own body.   She  said she  doesn't believe  that that's  the                                                               
right approach to take.   In response to questions, she cautioned                                                               
against likening the treatment of  a migraine with the concept of                                                               
having control over one's own  body when it comes to reproduction                                                               
issues - to  make such an argument is to  minimize the situation.                                                               
She pointed  out that under  current law  in Alaska, a  minor can                                                               
get  birth  control without  parental  consent,  adding that  she                                                               
feels  that having  to obtain  parental  consent in  order to  be                                                               
administered aspirin by a school nurse is completely different.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:00:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BYRON CHARLES (ph) characterized  what's being discussed today as                                                               
a very,  very delicate  subject, and  surmised that  the people's                                                               
constitutional  rights to  due process  are  also at  issue.   He                                                               
remarked that ever  since the State of  Alaska began distributing                                                               
permanent fund  dividend (PFD) checks,  it seems as  though there                                                               
are a lot  of children having children.  Education  is a critical                                                               
component, he  opined, but it  appears that classes  on parenting                                                               
skills  are  only  being  offered to  minors  after  they  become                                                               
parents.   He relayed that  he has an  18-year-old son with  a 1-                                                               
year-old son himself.  He added,  "Tough love, as we all know, is                                                               
easier said than done when it  comes to dealing with ... [teenage                                                               
pregnancy]; all  we can do is  try to be there  for moral support                                                               
the best way we can."   In conclusion, he offered his belief that                                                               
the issues  being discussed today  should be required as  part of                                                               
the  [high  school]  education  curriculum,  including  parenting                                                               
skills,  and that  more  research needs  to  be conducted  before                                                               
action is taken on HB 35.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:03:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAN WHITEFIELD, M.D., OB/GYN, Section  Chair, American College of                                                               
Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG),  relayed that he would be                                                               
providing  information  produced by  the  ACOG  and not  his  own                                                               
opinion.  The  April 2006 ACOG Committee Opinion  Number 330 says                                                               
in part:   "... parental consent, although  preferred, should not                                                               
be required.   If parental  consent is not obtained,  consent for                                                               
the examination should  be obtained from the  minor and indicated                                                               
in the  medical record."   He  explained that  the aforementioned                                                               
statement pertains to  a Colposcopy, an examination  tool used in                                                               
the diagnosis and treatment of  cervical cancer.  He then relayed                                                               
that  the  ACOG  Statement  of  Policy  as  issued  by  the  ACOG                                                               
Executive Board, reaffirmed July 1987, says in part:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Statement  on  Providing   Effective  Contraception  to                                                                    
     Minors ... The laws  of some states indirectly prohibit                                                                    
     this  service  for  minors   and  thereby  prevent  the                                                                    
     gynecologist from  serving them or place  the physician                                                                    
     in legal jeopardy if he  does so. ... These restricting                                                                    
     legal barriers  should be removed  even in the  case of                                                                    
     an  unemancipated  minor  who refuses  to  involve  her                                                                    
     parents.  A  pregnancy should not be the  price she has                                                                    
     to  pay  for contraception.    On  the other  hand,  in                                                                    
     counseling the patient, all  possible efforts should be                                                                    
     made to involve her parents. ...                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR. WHITEFIELD then relayed that  the ACOG Statement of Policy as                                                               
issued by  the ACOG Executive  Board, last reaffirmed  July 2007,                                                               
says  in  part, "Abortion  Policy  ...  Termination of  pregnancy                                                               
before  viability is  a medical  matter between  the patient  and                                                               
physician,  subject to  the  physician's  clinical judgment,  the                                                               
patient's informed  consent and  the availability  of appropriate                                                               
facilities  ...."   He remarked  that  the aforementioned  policy                                                               
speaks  about the  patient and  the  physician, and  specifically                                                               
doesn't speak about the parent.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLMES noted  that  a violation  of  HB 35  would                                                               
subject a physician to a fine  of $1,000, or a prison sentence of                                                               
up to five years, or both.  She asked Dr. Whitefield to comment.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR.  WHITEFIELD said  his goal  in  speaking was  to provide  the                                                               
committee  with information  produced by  the ACOG  - information                                                               
that   members  could   take   into   consideration  during   its                                                               
deliberations;  therefore,  he is  not  yet  prepared to  make  a                                                               
statement  regarding  his thoughts  on  HB  35 specifically,  but                                                               
would attempt  to do so  at a later  date if the  committee would                                                               
allow.    In  response  to   questions,  he  explained  that  the                                                               
documents he was reading from  are documents produced by the ACOG                                                               
in an  effort to assist  obstetricians and gynecologist  in their                                                               
practice;  that in  instances where  the  patient is  considering                                                               
terminating a  pregnancy, he provides  some counseling;  and that                                                               
if committee  members have specific  questions, he  would attempt                                                               
to research specific  information from the ACOG  to address those                                                               
questions.   He  reiterated  that  he did  not  come prepared  to                                                               
provide his own  opinion on the bill but  instead simply intended                                                               
to provide the committee with factual information from the ACOG.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM  expressed interest in learning  who Dr.                                                               
Whitefield seeks payment  from in instances where  the patient is                                                               
a  minor, and  who becomes  financially liable  if no  payment is                                                               
forthcoming.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  expressed   interest  in  learning  whether                                                               
parents are  notified if complications  arise during  an abortion                                                               
procedure.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR. WHITEFIELD, once  again reiterating that he  was not speaking                                                               
on his own  behalf but instead on behalf of  the ACOG, asked that                                                               
members provide  their specific questions  in writing so  that he                                                               
can obtain specific written responses from the ACOG.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RAMRAS told  Dr. Whitefield  that he  shouldn't expect  to                                                               
receive anything in writing from the committee.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:15:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
OSCAR  AVELLANEDA pointed  out that  regardless of  the sponsor's                                                               
hope  that  there  will  be  communication  within  families,  in                                                               
today's society,  discussing issues such  as sex and  abortion is                                                               
considered  scandalous,  and  he  is  therefore  questioning  the                                                               
efficacy of  a bill  such as  HB 35,  particularly given  all the                                                               
pressure and anxiety associated  with telling one's parents about                                                               
an unwanted  pregnancy without  knowing how they  will react  - a                                                               
bill such as  HB 35 could instead just make  the situation worse.                                                               
He also pointed  out that even a quick Internet  search on how to                                                               
induce  an abortion  resulted in  some  absolutely scary  advice.                                                               
"That  is something  the  next  generation is  going  to do,"  he                                                               
predicted:  minors will just research  on their own how to induce                                                               
an  abortion themselves.   Although  communication is  important,                                                               
HB 35 is  not the appropriate  bill to ensure  that communication                                                               
takes place, he concluded.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
[Chair Ramras turned the gavel over to Vice Chair Dahlstrom.]                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked Mr. Avellaneda whether  he thinks                                                               
that passage  of HB 35 will  result in children talking  to their                                                               
parents.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. AVELLANEDA surmised that children  who already have some sort                                                               
of  open communication  with  their parents  will  gather up  the                                                               
courage to  talk to  their parents  about an  unwanted pregnancy,                                                               
but that  children who don't or  who are afraid of  their parents                                                               
will  be pushed  by HB  35's  requirements into  seeking ways  of                                                               
dealing with an unwanted pregnancy on their own.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked Mr. Avellaneda whether  he thinks                                                               
it's good public policy "to encourage  people to evade the law in                                                               
that manner."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. AVELLANEDA suggested that instead  of passing such a law, the                                                               
legislature   should   instead   focus   on   education   efforts                                                               
encouraging communication.  In response  to a question, he shared                                                               
his belief  that at some point,  the parents of a  pregnant minor                                                               
should be involved.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  offered his belief that  the court ruling                                                               
in Planned  Parenthood of Alaska  has resulted in  parents "never                                                             
having a  right to  know" unless their  child decides  to involve                                                               
them.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. AVELLANEDA  observed that communication  and consent  are two                                                               
different  things.   Communication  involves open  dialog and  an                                                               
acknowledgment  of the  minor's  choice, whereas  HB 35  mandates                                                               
that the  minor obtain  consent before getting  an abortion.   He                                                               
relayed  that when  he was  young, he  withheld some  information                                                               
from his parents  until he felt that the time  was right and that                                                               
it would be safe to disclose the information.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL surmised  that Mr.  Avellaneda is  of the                                                               
belief that  parents should "never  have a right to  know" unless                                                               
the child is amenable.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. AVELLANEDA concurred.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL said he disagrees with that belief.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:22:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LORI SIEBE opined that in an  ideal world, all kids would talk to                                                               
their parents.   Unfortunately, that's not the way  the world is.                                                               
Furthermore, it's not just children  living in abusive situations                                                               
who don't  want to  talk with  their parents  - children  who are                                                               
high achievers and  love their parents dearly  are sometimes also                                                               
afraid to discuss  certain things with their parents.   She spoke                                                               
of a couple  - the Bells of  Indiana - who lost  their daughter -                                                               
Becky  - in  1988  to  a botched  abortion  because  she was  too                                                               
humiliated and afraid  of disappointing her parents  to tell them                                                               
that she was pregnant, and Indiana  at the time had a [mandatory]                                                               
consent law.   The Bells, since then, have been  giving talks and                                                               
providing  information so  that other  parents don't  have to  go                                                               
through what they did; again, even  though the Bells were an open                                                               
and loving family  and totally supportive of  their daughter, she                                                               
did not want to disappoint them, and it killed her.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. SIEBE indicated  that in addition to her  concern about those                                                               
children living in abusive situations,  she opposes HB 35 because                                                               
it will put [pregnant girls]  in Alaska in a difficult situation.                                                               
Consider the time  factor - Alaska is a remote,  large state, and                                                               
many  communities  in  Alaska  just   don't  have  the  necessary                                                               
services  available  and  so  travel   would  be  involved,  thus                                                               
delaying  decisions  that  must  be  made  in  a  timely  manner.                                                               
Becoming pregnant  while still  a young teenager  is not  an easy                                                               
situation; it's  not a  situation any  girl or  boy wants  to get                                                               
into.  Ideally, children will  talk to their parents without this                                                               
proposed  law -  they  shouldn't  have to  be  forced  by law  to                                                               
communicate  with   their  parents.    She   mentioned  that  Dr.                                                               
Whitefield  delivered  her  baby,  and characterized  him  as  an                                                               
excellent physician and a great advocate for women's health.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SIEBE  surmised that  the  point  of  HB  35 is  to  protect                                                               
Alaska's children -  protect Alaska's girls - but  said she feels                                                               
that instead  the safety of  those children would  be jeopardized                                                               
by the  passage of  the bill.   She said she  would love  for her                                                               
daughter to  speak to her  on her own  if she ever  found herself                                                               
pregnant, and  hopes that she  has given her daughter  reason to.                                                               
Ms. Siebe acknowledged, though, that  her daughter may choose not                                                               
to  speak  with her,  and  said  she  would honor  that  decision                                                               
regardless that  she may  not be  happy with it.   She  asked the                                                               
committee to protect  Alaska's children by not  passing the bill,                                                               
to instead  hope that  children will talk  to their  parents even                                                               
though not required to by law.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
[Vice Chair Dahlstrom returned the gavel to Chair Ramras.]                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES  surmised that  one of  the dangers  of the                                                               
bill is that  pregnant minors will do whatever it  takes to abort                                                               
a fetus once  they have decided not to give  birth, and therefore                                                               
if  they feel  they  can't  face their  parents  or the  judicial                                                               
system, they  will instead  simply seek  other means  of aborting                                                               
regardless that they themselves may be harmed in the process.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SIEBE  concurred,  surmising  that  girls  will  be  seeking                                                               
information  on how  to abort  from "the  weirdest places."   She                                                               
offered her  recollection that  when she  was a  teenager, fellow                                                               
teenagers would give  advice on how to abort.   Girls would go to                                                               
any lengths  to end  an unwanted  pregnancy regardless  that they                                                               
weren't following safe advice.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLMES,  noting  that  HB  35  requires  parental                                                               
consent, not  just parental notification, expressed  concern that                                                               
the "veto  power" being  given to  parents via  HB 35,  even when                                                               
their children  do come talk  to them,  will cause girls  to harm                                                               
themselves while attempting to abort without parental consent.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. SIEBE agreed.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:28:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL said  he  disagrees  with the  assumption                                                               
that every parent  will give his/her children bad  advice or that                                                               
forcing children  to accept a  decision they don't agree  with is                                                               
always  bad.   He  added,  "I think  this  particular bill  gives                                                               
avenues for  those who have  that kind  of a problem,"  and asked                                                               
Ms. Siebe  whether she  assumes that parents  will always  veto a                                                               
pregnant minor's decision [to have a abortion].                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SIEBE  said  no,  surmising that  every  situation  will  be                                                               
unique.  Instead, her point about  HB 35, she relayed, is that it                                                               
will  force kids  who  are  living in  a  bad  situation to  lose                                                               
valuable  time as  they  attempt  to seek  safe  healthcare in  a                                                               
timely manner.   Again, ideally, kids will talk  to their parents                                                               
without this bill, whereas HB 35  is telling people how they have                                                               
to act,  and the people who  will be most negatively  affected by                                                               
this  bill are  the children  who don't  have communication  with                                                               
their parents.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  opined, however, that [the  court ruling]                                                               
is telling parents  how to act and is empowering  those who would                                                               
counsel pregnant minors without  parental involvement or parental                                                               
consent.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. SIEBE surmised that Representative  Coghill believes that any                                                               
counselor  advocating for  women's  health will  tell a  pregnant                                                               
minor to get an abortion.  That  may not be the case, she pointed                                                               
out; instead the pregnant minor may  not want to have an abortion                                                               
after speaking with  a physician.  She said it  appears as though                                                               
legislators aren't  focusing on  the safety  of the  children who                                                               
may  find  themselves  pregnant  but  are  instead  just  getting                                                               
wrapped up  in debating  the abortion issue  itself.   Since it's                                                               
the  girl's decision  whether to  keep  the baby,  she should  be                                                               
allowed the  option of making  that decision with  the assistance                                                               
of a  doctor, without the  stress and  undue burden of  having to                                                               
talk  to parents  who aren't  supportive  or who  aren't open  to                                                               
discussing the issue.   Although a girl might  have great parents                                                               
and would  talk to them anyway,  she should be given  the benefit                                                               
of the doubt, Ms. Siebe concluded.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL said,  "My contention  is that  those who                                                               
have gone to  every supreme court in the United  States [and] ...                                                               
pushed abortion in  every venue going are the very  ones that are                                                               
counseling our young daughters to get abortions."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. SIEBE  countered that the trend  she is seeing is  that there                                                               
is  more  counseling  for adoption,  rather  than  for  abortion,                                                               
adding, "I  feel you're  wrong there."   She went  on to  say, "I                                                               
think it's important that a  child gets all information, and that                                                               
all is  available to her, and  it's not our decision  to make for                                                               
her,  but to  give  her the  proper  tools she  needs  to make  a                                                               
decision that's right for her."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:33:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  Ms. Siebe  whether she  believes                                                               
that  if society  makes  it  more difficult  for  a young  person                                                               
without financial  means to  obtain an  abortion, that  it's then                                                               
also society's obligation  to pay for that  person's education so                                                               
that she  can then earn  the money to raise  a child, and  to pay                                                               
for  their healthcare.   What  is society's  obligation once  the                                                               
child is born?                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. SIEBE  opined that that issue  is not at all  relevant to the                                                               
discussion on  whether to  mandate that  a pregnant  minor notify                                                               
her parents regarding a reproductive matter.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG   pointed   out,   though,   that   as                                                               
legislators,  they need  to consider  the  implications and  full                                                               
ramifications of the  laws they pass; with regard to  HB 35, that                                                               
includes  considering  how  it will  affect  society,  what  will                                                               
happen to  the young mother and  child if the child  is born, how                                                               
that child  will be able to  survive economically, educationally,                                                               
and in  good health,  and how  the young mother  will be  able to                                                               
afford to raise that child.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. SIEBE  asked whether Representative Gruenberg  is questioning                                                               
whether the parents  of the pregnant minor should  be required to                                                               
pay for  the upbringing  of the  baby if they  force her  to give                                                               
birth,  as  opposed  to  the   pregnant  minor  going  on  public                                                               
assistance.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  clarified that he's not  asking whether                                                               
just the parents  of the pregnant minor have  that obligation but                                                               
whether society has that obligation as well.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
[Chair Ramras turned the gavel over to Vice Chair Dahlstrom.]                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. SIEBE reiterated  that her concern revolves  around the issue                                                               
of  pregnant minors  possibly being  injured  because they  won't                                                               
talk to their parents and  instead make bad medical decisions all                                                               
on their own.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:37:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ERICA THOMPSON, noting  that she currently works  as a substitute                                                               
teacher  at  both the  middle  school  and  the high  school  [in                                                               
Kodiak],  said that  the rate  of teen  pregnancy is  astounding.                                                               
She offered her understanding that  in Alaska, the age of consent                                                               
for becoming  sexually active is 16,  and that the goal  of HB 35                                                               
is  to  lower  the  number  of  abortions  performed  in  Alaska.                                                               
Regardless that  that is a legitimate  goal, as a state  and as a                                                               
government,  she  opined, "we  cannot  mandate  healthy and  open                                                               
family  communication,"  particularly  given the  high  rates  of                                                               
sexual  abuse [of  a minor  crimes]  and instances  of incest  in                                                               
rural communities - it is  not feasible to require pregnant girls                                                               
to talk with their parents about having an abortion.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  THOMPSON  observed   that  whether  a  girl   is  afraid  of                                                               
dishonoring her  family, or of  disappointing her parents,  or of                                                               
disclosing what  she's been subjected  to, until the  problems of                                                               
sexual  abuse and  incest in  Alaska's communities  are resolved,                                                               
the  government  shouldn't mandate  that  a  young girl,  who  is                                                               
pregnant through  no fault  of her  own and  who doesn't  want to                                                               
give birth,  go in front of  judge and prove why  she should have                                                               
the right to  get an abortion.  Teenagers in  [Kodiak] are giving                                                               
birth  at  the age  of  14;  this  means  that they  are  getting                                                               
pregnant during the summer after  their 8th-grade year at school.                                                               
This  illustrates  the  extreme  need  for  comprehensive  sexual                                                               
education  that includes  information  about all  forms of  birth                                                               
control  in   addition  to  information  about   abstinence  -  a                                                               
completely respectable choice.  So  many students are not getting                                                               
adequate  birth-control education,  or are  getting it  too late,                                                               
that the  State shouldn't,  at this point  in time,  mandate that                                                               
girls have  to be 18  in order  get an abortion  without parental                                                               
consent.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
[Vice Chair Dahlstrom returned the gavel to Chair Ramras.]                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. THOMPSON  said that  with the  young women  with whom  she is                                                               
speaking, she  is finding  that in some  cases, they  are already                                                               
sexually  active but  are not  talking with  their parents  about                                                               
having become  so, and this illustrates  that there is a  lack of                                                               
trust within those  families.  So regardless that  parents have a                                                               
right  to know  what their  child is  doing, if  a child  becomes                                                               
pregnant but  doesn't feel  she can safely  speak to  her parents                                                               
without them simply forcing her  to give birth, then the parents'                                                               
right [to  know] "has  gone out the  window" because  they've had                                                               
the time to talk to  their daughter about healthy sexual behavior                                                               
and  birth  control options  -  and  create a  stable,  wholesome                                                               
environment within which their daughter  could talk to them - but                                                               
neglected to do so.  If it's gotten  to the point that a minor is                                                               
already  pregnant,  then  that  signifies  that  there  has  been                                                               
breakdown in  communication -  either within  the home  or within                                                               
the education system itself.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. THOMPSON said that she is  strongly against HB 35 and doesn't                                                               
feel  that it  will benefit  the  young women  in Alaska's  rural                                                               
communities at all.   In response to a question,  she said she is                                                               
aware - both as a  young women's self-sufficiency advocate and as                                                               
someone  raised  in   the  community  -  of   young  girls  being                                                               
impregnated by  older, irresponsible men; several  of her friends                                                               
have been left to be single  mothers because their families had a                                                               
very,  very strong  stance against  abortion.   The older  men in                                                               
these situations  have had  no part  in their  offspring's lives,                                                               
and the  majority of the young  women are now using  State social                                                               
service funds  to raise  their children;  these young  women have                                                               
had  to let  go of  their  dreams of  going to  collage or  their                                                               
dreams of  establishing a  life outside of  Alaska.   These young                                                               
women love their children but they  also have a lot of sadness in                                                               
their hearts because  they feel as though they  have become stuck                                                               
and are no longer able  to make beneficial choices for themselves                                                               
as parents and as community members.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN offered  his  understanding that  physicians                                                               
who perform abortions aren't reporting  instances in which minors                                                               
are being impregnated  by older men - men who  are committing the                                                               
crime of sexual abuse of a minor.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  THOMPSON  noted  that  although she  herself  would  not  be                                                               
affected by  HB 35 because  she is no longer  a minor, she  has a                                                               
younger sister who would be affected by it.  She went on to say:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     I'm lucky  enough to  have grown up  in a  family where                                                                    
     there  is open  communication, and  at no  point in  my                                                                    
     life  would  my  parents  have said  to  me,  "You  got                                                                    
     pregnant, you  have to have  this baby." ... I  do have                                                                    
     friends,  however,  that  were   not  as  fortunate  as                                                                    
     myself, and now  they are growing up with  a child that                                                                    
     they're  raising that  they  don't  have the  parenting                                                                    
     skills  or the  life  skills  to be  raising.   And  no                                                                    
     matter what  happens, that  child that  they're raising                                                                    
     now is  being raised with  the knowledge that  ... [his                                                                    
     conception] was not on purpose  - he was not wanted, he                                                                    
     was not  asked for, he  was brought into this  world by                                                                    
     choices that were  not his mother's.  And  I think that                                                                    
     later on  we're going  to find a  group of  students in                                                                    
     our schools  who are dealing  with a lot  of depression                                                                    
     issues  because  they're  being raised  in  homes  like                                                                    
     that.   And this may  be 15  years down the  road, when                                                                    
     the  [children of  these  current teenage  pregnancies]                                                                    
     ... are  actually in the school  districts, themselves,                                                                    
     and I just don't think any of this is a good plan.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:46:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG asked Ms.  Thompson whether she believes                                                               
that  if  a  pregnant  minor  doesn't  have  the  educational  or                                                               
financial resources to support a  baby that her parents force her                                                               
to have,  that society is  then obligated to  provide healthcare,                                                               
education, and training that would  allow for the young mother to                                                               
support her  baby.  He added,  "I, as a legislator,  need to know                                                               
and to consider that possibility."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. THOMPSON said  she does believe that if HB  35 is passed into                                                               
law  and parental  consent becomes  a requirement  for having  an                                                               
abortion, and  a pregnant  minor doesn't want  to give  birth but                                                               
her  parents   won't  consent  to   an  abortion,  then   if  the                                                               
legislature hasn't taken into account  the huge financial support                                                               
that young  mother-to-be will require  as a result of  her choice                                                               
having been taken away, it would  be a huge lapse in judgment [on                                                               
the part of the legislature].  She added:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     I very  much feel that if  we are going to  force girls                                                                    
     into  talking  with  their parents  and  getting  their                                                                    
     parents' approval  to have an abortion,  there is going                                                                    
     to be  a group of girls  who do not want  to be mothers                                                                    
     that are  forced into it,  and they are  probably going                                                                    
     to be  very angry  with their  families, and  they will                                                                    
     not   be  able   to  have   the  education   or  career                                                                    
     opportunities that  would otherwise have  been provided                                                                    
     to them  if they  had not  had a  child.   Therefore, I                                                                    
     believe  that there  ... must  be the  consideration of                                                                    
     the  financial responsibility  that  will  fall to  the                                                                    
     State to provide for these women and their offspring.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG asked Ms.  Thompson whether she believes                                                               
that in the  same factual situation, the parents  of the pregnant                                                               
minor  should be  required to  bear the  financial responsibility                                                               
for the pregnancy and the raising of the baby.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. THOMPSON said  no, because in that situation it  would be the                                                               
legislature  mandating  that  the  pregnant  minor  get  parental                                                               
consent to  obtain an  abortion.  Such  a mandate,  she surmised,                                                               
would  essentially force  the parents  to make  the decision  for                                                               
their  daughter regardless  of  what she  might  wish, and  those                                                               
parents  who refuse  to  grant their  daughter  an abortion  will                                                               
simply advise  her to obtain  public assistance, thus  making the                                                               
State pay for the raising of that unwanted baby.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:52:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHLEEN GUSTAFSON,  President, Board of Directors,  Kachemak Bay                                                               
Family Planning Clinic (KBFPC),  said that she personally opposes                                                               
parental consent  laws, and believes that  every pregnant Alaskan                                                               
has the right to privacy afforded  to all Alaskans via the Alaska                                                               
State Constitution.   She pointed  out that a pregnant  minor may                                                               
need  protection from  the  very people  [the  sponsor] seeks  to                                                               
empower  with legislation  such as  HB  35.   Surmising that  the                                                               
sponsor is of the belief  that generally parents behave well, she                                                               
said  she  doesn't  believe  that  pregnant  minors  need  to  be                                                               
protected  against  generalizations,  but   instead  need  to  be                                                               
protected against  specific examples  of when the  parents aren't                                                               
behaving well.   To say  that generally parents behave  well, she                                                               
opined, is to simply be looking the other way.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GUSTAFSON  then characterized  the  assertion  by some  that                                                               
those in the healthcare industry  are coercing minors into having                                                               
abortions as a false perception.   Most healthcare providers, she                                                               
explained, strictly  and scrupulously follow codes  of ethics and                                                               
mandatory reporting laws.   It is outright folly  to believe that                                                               
what [every] pregnant teenager needs is  to be turned over to the                                                               
will  of  her  parents,  she  opined, since  doing  so  [in  some                                                               
instances]   can  actually   endanger   the  pregnant   teenager.                                                               
Furthermore,  the exemptions  in  the bill,  she remarked,  could                                                               
actually harm the very people who  need protection the most.  She                                                               
said she  opposes the  bill, and  encouraged legislators  to vote                                                               
"no" on HB 35.  In  conclusion, Ms. Gustafson referred to Planned                                                             
Parenthood of  Alaska, and  she said  she agrees  that protecting                                                             
minors  from   their  own  immaturity   and  aiding   parents  in                                                               
fulfilling their  parental responsibilities are  compelling state                                                               
interests, but  opined that  [those goals]  can only  be achieved                                                               
via reproductive-health education, not  by restricting the rights                                                               
of pregnant minors.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:55:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY JO  SPOTTS read her  testimony from a letter  she'd recently                                                               
written to Representative Chenault:                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     I am opposed to HB 35,  and I feel that the legislators                                                                    
     sponsoring it  or supporting it  are way out  of bounds                                                                    
     and are  politicizing the abortion debate.   The Alaska                                                                    
     Supreme Court  ruled in 2007 that  the parental consent                                                                    
     Act  was unconstitutional.   Planned  Parenthood states                                                                    
     that  in  Missouri,  second trimester  abortions  among                                                                    
     minors increased  17 percent  after a  parental consent                                                                    
     law passed.   If  legislators are opposed  to abortion,                                                                    
     they should  push for comprehensive sex  education, not                                                                    
     for interfering in private family  matters.  Most teens                                                                    
     facing an  unplanned pregnancy are going  to confide in                                                                    
     their parents.   The few who don't  probably have valid                                                                    
     reasons  for not  involving their  parents.   Mandating                                                                    
     parental  consent  would  make  a  bad  situation  much                                                                    
     worse.  I ask you to oppose HB 35.  Thank you.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:56:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AUTUMN LEACH, Attorney at Law, after  noting that she is a former                                                               
legal  advocate for  victims of  domestic  violence (DV),  sexual                                                               
assault, and  sexual abuse  of a minor  crimes, relayed  that she                                                               
would be testifying in opposition to HB 35.  She said:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     I  am concerned  with the  inconsistencies of  our laws                                                                    
     that this  bill brings.   I'm  also concerned  with the                                                                    
     power  given  to parents  to  force  parenthood upon  a                                                                    
     child,  a minor.   I  am also  concerned about  ... the                                                                    
     financial cost  this bill  may - and  I believe  will -                                                                    
     bring to ... [our] state.   The inconsistencies of this                                                                    
     law:  we allow minors  to consent to sexual activity at                                                                    
     age 16 -  this law allows a parent to  tell a minor, at                                                                    
     age 17  and down, they  may consent to  sexual activity                                                                    
     but  they may  not  consent to  an  abortion; our  laws                                                                    
     allow minors to obtain  birth control and treatment and                                                                    
     testing  for  [sexually  transmitted  diseases  (STDs)]                                                                    
     without parental  consent; our  laws also  allow minors                                                                    
     to  become  parents  upon their  choosing.    This  law                                                                    
     allows a parent  of a minor to force  parenthood on ...                                                                    
     [her] -  another inconsistency of  this law -  this law                                                                    
     does not permit  a parent of a minor  to force abortion                                                                    
     on the  minor.  I  believe the overall purpose  of this                                                                    
     bill is  to restrict and  reduce abortion. ...  I'm not                                                                    
     here to have an abortion  debate.  I don't think anyone                                                                    
     would disagree that limiting abortion  is a good thing.                                                                    
     However, limiting the  rights of mothers is  not a good                                                                    
     thing.   I  appreciate  the discussion,  and, again,  I                                                                    
     oppose HB 35.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:59:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PATRICIA ODDEN  said she  opposes HB  35.  Noting  that she  is a                                                               
mother  of  seven  children  -  five   of  them  girls  -  and  a                                                               
grandmother of three girls, she  opined that it is important [for                                                               
legislators] to focus  on the health of Alaska's  teenagers.  She                                                               
and her daughters  are close, she relayed,  but acknowledged that                                                               
there are probably times when  they don't feel comfortable coming                                                               
to her, though she would like to  think they would come to her if                                                               
the situation  involved pregnancy.  The  government, however, has                                                               
no place  in that relationship.   And  if the government  were to                                                               
force   any  of   her   children/grandchildren   into  having   a                                                               
conversation  with her,  she said  she could  see how  they would                                                               
instead become intimidated and afraid  to seek help, to the point                                                               
where they  would try other,  desperate measures.   Teenagers are                                                               
impulsive  and  don't  always use  common  sense,  especially  in                                                               
confusing, scary situations.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. PATRICIA  ODDEN said that  she absolutely  opposes government                                                               
intrusion in her relationships with  her five daughters and three                                                               
granddaughters.  She added:                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     We do our best as parents,  and if, in such a situation                                                                    
     like teen  pregnancy, our girls don't  feel comfortable                                                                    
     talking  with us,  I'd like  to think  that they  would                                                                    
     still have  access to information to  keep them healthy                                                                    
     and safe.   We are  an Alaska Native family,  and we're                                                                    
     very private - there's no  place for the government [to                                                                    
     be] forcing  itself in  a sensitive,  family situation.                                                                    
     I oppose this bill.  Thank you for hearing me.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:01:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CLOVER SIMON, MSW, Vice President,  Alaska, Planned Parenthood of                                                               
the Great  Northwest (PPGNW),  relayed that  PPGNW is  opposed to                                                               
HB 35  for a  couple  of  reasons.   One,  parents and  teenagers                                                               
already are communicating about  the difficult issue of abortion,                                                               
and,  two,  PPGNW believes  that  HB  35 is  unconstitutional  as                                                               
referenced in the 2007 Alaska  Supreme Court decision in State v.                                                             
Planned  Parenthood of  Alaska.    What PPGNW  is  seeing in  its                                                             
clinics  is  that  parents  are   involved  in  their  daughters'                                                               
decisions when they are dealing  with the very difficult issue of                                                               
unintended   pregnancy.      Furthermore,  PPGNW   supports   and                                                               
encourages  parental  involvement  in  all  of  the  services  it                                                               
provides to teenagers, and with  regard to the issue of abortion,                                                               
PPGNW  is  seeing  that  parents  are  overwhelmingly  aware  and                                                               
involved in the process.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. SIMON said that  historically, Planned Parenthood's Anchorage                                                               
clinic has  seen two  or fewer young  women [per  year] obtaining                                                               
abortion services  without parental involvement.   In 2008, [that                                                               
clinic] served 18 young women; all  but two were 16 years old and                                                               
all but  four had  parents involved.   Furthermore,  she relayed,                                                               
when  she  questioned other  physicians  in  the community,  they                                                               
stated  that  the majority  of  their  teenage clients  accessing                                                               
abortion  services  have involved  their  parents.   Noting  that                                                               
during the  discussion on HB 35,  a lot of people,  including the                                                               
sponsor,  have spoken  about  the rights  of  parents, and  about                                                               
their  view that  the Alaska  Supreme Court  ruling has  driven a                                                               
wedge  between parents  and teenagers,  she pointed  out that  in                                                               
actuality, teenagers and their parents  are talking about sex and                                                               
unintended  pregnancies   -  their  parents  are   very  actively                                                               
involved.  Therefore, she opined,  although there appears to be a                                                               
reluctance  among legislators  to make  laws based  on exceptions                                                               
and  rare circumstances,  that's  exactly what  is occurring  via                                                               
HB 35.   Young women  are not  streaming into  clinics flippantly                                                               
deciding to terminate a pregnancy.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SIMON  also  opined  that   the  judicial  bypass  procedure                                                               
outlined in HB 35 will not  protect young women from those who've                                                               
been  characterized by  the sponsor  as  bad-acting parents;  the                                                               
bill  does not  include  a provision  mandating that  information                                                               
about a minor  seeking judicial bypass be  kept confidential, nor                                                               
does it include  a mechanism for supporting the  minor during the                                                               
judicial  bypass  process.   Under  the  bill's  judicial  bypass                                                               
procedure, for  example, a minor,  if she went through  the court                                                               
system, wouldn't have  to tell her parents that  she's seeking an                                                               
abortion, but the  bill allows [physicians and  the court system]                                                               
to share  that information  with her school.   This  doesn't make                                                               
any sense.  A young woman  in a small community has little option                                                               
but to  take matters into her  own hands, and this  could lead to                                                               
unsafe home  abortions.   The bill  also establishes  a mandatory                                                               
48-hour waiting  period for teenagers  seeking an  abortion, even                                                               
teenagers  that have  parental consent,  and this  will place  an                                                               
additional burden on  those teenagers who have to  travel to seek                                                               
an abortion.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SIMON,  in conclusion,  reiterated her belief  that HB  35 is                                                               
unconstitutional  and that  its  judicial  bypass procedure  does                                                               
nothing to protect an already vulnerable young woman.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:04:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHERINE  FOREST  relayed  that  she  was  born  and  raised  in                                                               
Anchorage in  a family with  very strong Catholic  views, learned                                                               
in a Baptist  school the importance of the Jesuit  family, and is                                                               
now the mother of a 4-year-old  daughter who is the center of her                                                               
life.   "That is why I  oppose HB 35," she  remarked, because she                                                               
wants  her daughter  to feel  safe, and  she intends  to maintain                                                               
open communication with  her daughter so that she  will feel that                                                               
she can  always come to  her.   However, if her  daughter doesn't                                                               
feel that  she can come  to her, Ms.  Forest added, she  wants to                                                               
know that  her daughter has  access to  safe medical care;  "I do                                                               
not want  her to have to  navigate a horrible process  [in order]                                                               
to get the care she needs."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. FOREST  relayed that as a  teenager, she was taught  to trust                                                               
and confide in her parents;  her relationship with them was based                                                               
on communication and love, both of  which are very important in a                                                               
teenager's  life and  are healthy  for both  sides.   She relayed                                                               
that she  was also taught,  at an  early age, to  be responsible,                                                               
and so,  throughout her years,  this responsibility has  made her                                                               
who she  is.  These  are the things  that she wants  to reinforce                                                               
with her daughter,  and why she works hard, and  why she seeks to                                                               
find the  best care  possible for  her daughter  while she  is at                                                               
work, she  said, and  why she strives  to participate  in healthy                                                               
activities with her  daughter; "I am sharing the  same gifts that                                                               
... [were] given to me as a young adult."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. FOREST  explained that when  she graduated from  high school,                                                               
her parents - knowing that she  was a mature, young adult capable                                                               
of taking care of herself  because those attributes were fostered                                                               
throughout  her  upbringing -  entrusted  her  with traveling  to                                                               
South  America  for four  months,  and  during her  travels,  she                                                               
learned that life in other parts  of the world was very different                                                               
than her  life at home;  this was a very  eye-opening experience.                                                               
As an  adult, she relayed,  she has  had the opportunity  to work                                                               
closely with  Anchorage's underprivileged and at-risk  youth, and                                                               
she  is therefore  very aware  that  many youth  haven't had  the                                                               
option  of having  parents that  they can  trust, confide  in, or                                                               
even  talk  to at  all.    House  Bill  35 will  affect  Alaska's                                                               
underprivileged youth,  youth who have been  denied an upbringing                                                               
filled with family values through no  fault of their own; such an                                                               
upbringing was  never offered  to them,  and their  parents never                                                               
shared a  loving, nourishing relationship  with them -  thus they                                                               
don't have  the experience of  such a  relationship/upbringing to                                                               
take away with them.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. FOREST  said that Alaskans  do not  need their youth  to feel                                                               
frightened or terrorized,  or to act as if the  world is going to                                                               
close  in on  them,  or to  resort to  more  drastic solutions  -                                                               
including  taking their  own lives.   "We  need to  help Alaska's                                                               
youth, and House  Bill 35 is not  the way to go; we  need to help                                                               
and protect  our teens in Alaska,  for they are our  future," she                                                               
concluded.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:07:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TIANA ODDEN  relayed that she  is 19 years  old, that she  had an                                                               
abortion about  five/six months ago,  and that she  can't imagine                                                               
being two years  younger than she is now and  being forced to ask                                                               
her parents for  permission to do something which  she feels that                                                               
she must make her own decision about.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:07:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEBRA CALDERA,  Alaska Public  Health Association  (ALPHA), after                                                               
noting that she is also the  past president of the ALPHA and that                                                               
one  of  the ALPHA's  goals  is  to  promote the  public  health,                                                               
relayed that  the 160  members of  the ALPHA oppose  HB 35.   The                                                               
ALPHA, like  its parent organization [the  American Public Health                                                               
Association  (APHA)], believes  in the  Alaska Supreme  Court and                                                               
U.S.  Supreme Court  rulings regarding  the right  of a  woman to                                                               
decide for  herself issues concerning  her reproductive  health -                                                               
the  right of  all women  of all  ages, in  particular teenagers.                                                               
During  a crises  pregnancy,  regardless of  a  woman's age,  all                                                               
barriers must be removed to  ensure that the woman, and teenagers                                                               
in  particular,  feel  free to  access  health  and  reproductive                                                               
services.  Requiring parental or  judicial consent for a teenager                                                               
to   obtain  an   abortion  will,   in   some  instances,   place                                                               
insurmountable barriers to care;  these barriers can threaten her                                                               
health and  her safety.   Ms. Caldera  concluded by  stating that                                                               
the ALPHA is strongly opposed to HB 35.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:08:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JULIE BARRY said  she opposes HB 35, mentioning  that her mother,                                                               
who  accompanied  her  to  the   committee  hearing  today,  also                                                               
supports  her views.   Ms.  Barry relayed  that she  is currently                                                               
pregnant,  and  thus  issues  pertaining   to  pregnancy  are  of                                                               
particular interest  to her.   She noted that  previous arguments                                                               
have already  been made that HB  35 will erect barriers  to women                                                               
in  rural areas;  will endanger  -  physically, emotionally,  and                                                               
economically  - teenagers  who come  from  abusive families;  and                                                               
will erect barriers  to those abused teenagers.   She pointed out                                                               
that  families often  have less  overt  problems, problems  which                                                               
nonetheless  pose  significant   challenges  for  Alaska's  young                                                               
women.   And even  when not  abusive, some  parents may  just not                                                               
have their  daughter's best interest  at heart; for  example some                                                               
parents of  a pregnant teenager  may desire the  economic support                                                               
that  another PFD  check or  additional public  assistance checks                                                               
could provide.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. BARRY recounted that she knows  of a girl whose mother rented                                                               
a room  to a man, that  man had sex  with the girl, the  girl got                                                               
pregnant, and  the mother refused  to give permission for  her to                                                               
get an  abortion because she feared  that the man would  move out                                                               
of  the house  and she  would then  lose an  important source  of                                                               
income, whereas  by making her  daughter have the baby,  it would                                                               
result in a  permanent source of income.  This  sort of influence                                                               
from parents, Ms.  Barry surmised, is not uncommon,  though it is                                                               
certainly  inappropriate,  she  opined,  when a  young  woman  is                                                               
considering whether or not to have  a baby - it should instead be                                                               
her  own  decision.    She  said  she  finds  it  troubling  that                                                               
arguments regarding  abortion itself  are being  raised; instead,                                                               
what should be  considered is the issue  of parental involvement,                                                               
because she does agree with some  of the bill's intentions:  that                                                               
it  could provide  vulnerable teenagers  with increased  support,                                                               
that it  does allow for  family involvement.   Unfortunately, the                                                               
bill assumes  that families will  be supportive and  assumes that                                                               
families  will  keep their  daughter's  best  interests in  mind,                                                               
because although such is usually the case, it isn't always.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. BARRY offered her understanding  that other states which have                                                               
enacted parental consent  laws have seen increases  in the number                                                               
of  abortions.   So although  some people  support HB  35 in  the                                                               
hopes that it  will decrease the number of abortions  - a concept                                                               
with which, she  remarked, she agrees - she thinks  that they are                                                               
misguided, and that  such hopes are therefore  a misguided reason                                                               
to support the bill.  In  conclusion, she offered her belief that                                                               
providing  comprehensive sexual  education would  instead be  the                                                               
best way to decrease the  number unintended pregnancies and hence                                                               
the   number   of  abortions,   adding   that   she  thinks   the                                                               
legislature's time would be better spent on that effort.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:12:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MONIQUE KARAGANIS,  M.D., Pediatrics, said  that one of  the most                                                               
important aspects  of being a  pediatrician is being  an advocate                                                               
for  the teenagers  she's had  the privilege  to care  for.   Dr.                                                               
Karaganis  referred to  Ms. Tiana  Odden's testimony,  and opined                                                               
that it's  important that  someone speak  and advocate  for those                                                               
people who  are unable to  vote because they are  still underage.                                                               
Dr. Karaganis pointed out that  there are also other instances in                                                               
which  a  teenager  could  be  reluctant  to  talk  with  his/her                                                               
parents, such as if he/she had  an STD and was seeking treatment,                                                               
or had  a substance abuse  problem and was seeking  treatment, or                                                               
was  homosexual but  unsure  about when  to  disclose that  fact.                                                               
Teenagers,  she surmised,  inherently  know  their own  situation                                                               
better than  this legislative  body could,  and so  therefore are                                                               
able  to make  a  better  decision about  when  and  where it  is                                                               
emotionally,  psychologically,  and  physically  safe  to  reveal                                                               
intimate aspects of their lives to their parents.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DR. KARAGANIS  opined that the  bill's attempt at  mandating such                                                               
revelations to parents  puts teenagers at risk  in multiple ways.                                                               
For example, when  other states have enacted  parental consent or                                                               
parental  notification  laws, it's  resulted  in  an increase  in                                                               
late-term abortions, which are inherently  medically riskier.  To                                                               
believe  that  HB   35  would  in  any   way  discourage  teenage                                                               
pregnancy,  she  surmised,  assumes  that the  teenage  brain  is                                                               
developed enough to  think three or four steps  ahead, [and since                                                               
that's not the case], HB  35 won't succeed in discouraging either                                                               
the number  of teenage  pregnancies that occur  or the  number of                                                               
abortions that  then result.   The  bill will,  however, increase                                                               
physical, emotional,  and psychological  risks to  teenage girls.                                                               
For  this reason,  as an  advocate for  teenagers, she  feels she                                                               
must speak for them on this issue.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DR. KARAGANIS  asked members to  consider the  reverse situation:                                                               
if a  pregnant minor didn't want  to have an abortion,  but there                                                               
was  a statutory  requirement that  her parents  be notified  and                                                               
that  she obtain  their consent  in  order to  give birth,  would                                                               
legislators then  be advocating  for the  parents' right  to stop                                                               
their daughter from giving birth?   She surmised that legislators                                                               
would not,  and that HB  35, therefore, represents an  attempt at                                                               
forcing motherhood on  teenage girls who aren't ready  for such a                                                               
responsibility.    Statistics  regarding   what  happens  to  the                                                               
children  of teenage  mothers  suggest that  when  a young  woman                                                               
doesn't feel  ready to be  a parent,  she should be  supported in                                                               
that decision, Dr. Karaganis concluded.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
[Chair Ramras turned the gavel over to Vice Chair Dahlstrom.]                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:16:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRYN  WINTERBERGER indicated  that although  there might  be room                                                               
for  improvement, she  currently  has  pretty good  communication                                                               
with her parents,  and relayed that because she  has taken sexual                                                               
education  classes that  were  taught by  her  father, she  feels                                                               
comfortable speaking  to her parents about  such matters, whereas                                                               
most  of her  friends  would not  even  consider discussing  such                                                               
things  with  their  parents  and   furthermore  aren't  as  well                                                               
informed  as she  is.   And  she, herself,  she  added, would  be                                                               
uncomfortable talking  to her parents  about so serious  an issue                                                               
as  an unwanted  pregnancy, because  she wouldn't  know how  they                                                               
would  react;  for  example,  if she  thought  they  would  react                                                               
negatively, she would be rather  hesitant to raise the issue with                                                               
them.   Again, she said, she  has several friends who  just don't                                                               
have good  communication with  their parents,  particularly about                                                               
such serious issues as becoming  pregnant or wanting an abortion,                                                               
and  since  that's the  case  currently,  that's unlikely  to  be                                                               
changed merely by the enactment of HB 35.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
[Vice Chair Dahlstrom returned the gavel to Chair Ramras.]                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:19:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KEN  WINTERBERGER, after  noting that  he  is the  father of  two                                                               
daughters,  said  that  he  opposes HB  35.    Mandated  parental                                                               
consent and notification might put  more Alaska teenagers at risk                                                               
than  are already  at risk.   Parents  should indeed  want to  be                                                               
involved in their  teenager's lives, and he and his  wife do want                                                               
their  daughters to  come to  them if  they become  pregnant, and                                                               
seriously hope that they would do  so; however, in reality, a law                                                               
such as  HB 35 doesn't  work, and he  can't envision how  any law                                                               
can mandate  family communication,  he remarked.   There  are too                                                               
many families in  which the kind of  communication being mandated                                                               
by  HB 35  could  in fact  be dangerous,  and  teenagers who  are                                                               
forced  to  do  something  that   is  frightening  tend  to  make                                                               
desperate decisions.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WINTERBERGER said  that  such teenagers  may  wait too  long                                                               
before  speaking  to  anyone  and  thereby  delay  obtaining  any                                                               
medical services, or  they may research the Internet  for ways to                                                               
abort  on their  own.    If the  State  is  really interested  in                                                               
mandating  family  communication   regarding  sexuality  and  the                                                               
unintended  outcomes of  sexual activity,  then the  State should                                                               
really  put  more  efforts into  providing  comprehensive  sexual                                                               
education,  which,  he relayed,  he  has  spent almost  10  years                                                               
teaching  at his  church; the  comprehensive sexual  education he                                                               
teaches emphasizes  communication.  He  too noted that  in states                                                               
which have  enacted parental  consent laws,  the number  of late-                                                               
term   abortions    obtained   by   teenagers    has   increased.                                                               
Furthermore, even in  states that limit access  to legal abortion                                                               
and make obtaining  an abortion intimidating or  complicated - as                                                               
HB 35 proposes to do in Alaska - women still get abortions.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. WINTERBERGER,  in conclusion, expressed concern  over what he                                                               
characterized as the  politicizing of abortion at  the expense of                                                               
the health and  safety of Alaska's teenagers, and  stated that he                                                               
didn't think that that's good policy.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:21:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARGARET  GADSDEN urged  the  committee to  vote  against HB  35,                                                               
characterizing  it  as a  safety  issue.    To  pass a  law  that                                                               
requires  communication among  families would  only endanger  the                                                               
lives of  young women.   Not all  young women live  in households                                                               
wherein  it's  safe  for  them  to  share  information  about  an                                                               
unwanted pregnancy with their parents,  but they still deserve to                                                               
have access to affordable, safe  healthcare.  She opined that the                                                               
legislature should never enact  legislation that would jeopardize                                                               
an individual's  right to  healthcare, and  yet that's  just what                                                               
HB 35  would do.   She  said that  in her  job as  a high  school                                                               
counselor, she's  spoken to many  teenage girls  about pregnancy,                                                               
and therefore she thinks that the best  thing to do as a state to                                                               
help  improve the  lives of  all Alaskans  would be  to institute                                                               
comprehensive, medically-accurate,  age-appropriate sex education                                                               
in Alaska's  public schools.   The lack of  information available                                                               
to  young  people is  astonishing;  consider,  for example,  that                                                               
according  to  the Centers  for  Disease  Control and  Prevention                                                               
(CDC), the  rate of  teenage pregnancy in  Alaska since  2006 has                                                               
increased 19  percent, and  that there  is still  a high  rate of                                                               
STDs among  Alaska's teenagers.   This  illustrates that  what is                                                               
really  needed  is education,  not  legislation  that will  limit                                                               
young people's access to health care and information.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
[HB 35 was held over.]                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Bellotti v. Baird.pdf HJUD 3/9/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2009 1:00:00 PM
Court Forms re Judicial Bypass.pdf HJUD 3/9/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2009 1:00:00 PM
State v. Planned Parenthood.pdf HJUD 3/9/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2009 1:00:00 PM
Letters of SupportOpposition 2.pdf HJUD 3/9/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2009 1:00:00 PM
Letters of SupportOpposition 1.pdf HJUD 3/9/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB35 Sectional.pdf HJUD 3/9/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 35
HB35 version A.pdf HJUD 3/9/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 35
HB35 Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 3/9/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 35
Support.pdf HJUD 3/9/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB35-LAW-CIV-3-6-09 (2).pdf HJUD 3/9/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 35
HB35-DHSS-MS-03-09-09.pdf HJUD 3/9/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 35
Letters of SupportOpposition 3.pdf HJUD 3/9/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/11/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/13/2009 1:00:00 PM