Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/20/1998 01:55 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
              SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                       
                    March 20, 1998                                             
                      1:55 p.m.                                                
                                                                               
                                                                               
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
                                                                               
Senator Robin Taylor, Chairman                                                 
Senator Drue Pearce, Vice-Chairman                                             
Senator Sean Parnell                                                           
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                           
                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
                                                                               
Senator Mike Miller                                                            
                                                                               
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
                                                                               
SENATE BILL NO. 268                                                            
"An Act relating to the assignment to the Department of Labor of               
certain wage claims; and providing for an effective date."                     
                                                                               
     - MOVED SB 268 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
                                                                               
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 284(STA)                                                
"An Act relating to cruelty to animals."                                       
                                                                               
     - MOVED CSSB 284(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                    
                                                                               
CS FOR SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 37(JUD)                                     
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska              
relating to consent or notification of a parent or legal guardian              
before an abortion is provided to a minor.                                     
                                                                               
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                          
                                                                               
PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                               
                                                                               
SB 268 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 2/24/98.                         
                                                                               
SB 284 - See State Affairs minutes dated 3/3/98.                               
                                                                               
SJR 37 - No previous action to report.                                         
                                                                               
WITNESS REGISTER                                                               
                                                                               
Senator Dave Donley                                                            
State Capitol                                                                  
Juneau, Ak 99801-1182                                                          
   POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 284                                     
                                                                               
Mr. Herb Simon                                                                 
Nalchina, Ak                                                                   
   POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 284                                     
                                                                               
Mr. Dwight Perkins                                                             
Special Assistant to the Commissioner                                          
Department of Labor                                                            
PO Box 21149                                                                   
Juneau, Ak                                                                     
   POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 268                                        
                                                                               
Mr. Kevin Clarkdson                                                            
Law Firm of Brenna, Bell and Clarkdson                                         
310 K St. #601                                                                 
Anchorage, Ak 99501                                                            
   POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SJR 37                                        
                                                                               
Ms. Liz Arndorfer                                                              
National Abortion & Reproductive Rights Action League                          
Washington, D.C.                                                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Janet Kreps                                                                
Center for Reproductive Law and Policy                                         
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Deborah Joslin                                                             
Republican Party of Alaska                                                     
PO Box 377                                                                     
Delta Junction, Ak 99737                                                       
   POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SJR 37                                        
                                                                               
Ms. Connie Page                                                                
2211 Penrose Lane                                                              
Fairbanks, Ak 99709                                                            
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Sharon Waisanen                                                            
44830 Eddy Hill                                                                
Soldotna, Ak 99669                                                             
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Rachel Wagner                                                              
1035 Seneca Ave.                                                               
Wasilla, Ak 99654                                                              
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Eleanor Andrews                                                            
1260-A West 6th                                                                
Anchorage, Ak 99501                                                            
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
Ms. Ramona Duby                                                                
PO Box 93016                                                                   
Anchorage Ak, 99509-3016                                                       
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Leila Wise                                                                 
PO Box 211034                                                                  
Anchorage, Ak 99524                                                            
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Bettye Davis                                                               
2240 Foxhall Drive                                                             
Anchorage, Ak 99504                                                            
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Julie Van Driel, R.N.                                                      
2192-C Lawson Creek                                                            
Juneau, Ak 99824                                                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Dr. Peter Nakamura                                                             
Director, Division of Public Health                                            
PO Box 110610                                                                  
Juneau, Ak 99811-0610                                                          
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Mr. Sid Heidersdorf                                                            
Alaskans for Life                                                              
PO Box 020654                                                                  
Juneau, Ak 99801                                                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SJR 37                                        
                                                                               
Ms. Susan Reeves                                                               
Alaska Womens' Political Caucus                                                
4001 Westwood Dr.                                                              
Anchorage, Ak 99517                                                            
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Nancy Kuhn                                                                 
2060 Amy Dyen                                                                  
Fairbanks, Ak 99712                                                            
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Nicole Hunter                                                              
403 S. Alaska St.                                                              
Palmer, Ak 99645                                                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Nancy Rollins                                                              
PO Box 1492                                                                    
Soldotna, Ak 99669                                                             
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Judith Cottrell                                                            
PO Box 189                                                                     
Palmer, Ak 99645                                                               
   POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed SJR 37                                         
                                                                               
Ms. Betty Hall                                                                 
Black Americans for Life                                                       
PO Box 22933                                                                   
Juneau, Ak 99802                                                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SJR 37                                        
                                                                               
Ms. Venita Rockstad                                                            
941 Snohomish #2                                                               
Wasilla, Ak 99654                                                              
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Mr. John Monagle                                                               
PO Box 210527                                                                  
Juneau, Ak 99801                                                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SJR 37                                        
                                                                               
Ms. Lisa Blacher                                                               
Juneau Coalition for Pro-choice                                                
536 Park Street                                                                
Juneau, Ak 99801                                                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Mr. Mike Pauley                                                                
Staff to Senator Loren Leman                                                   
State Capitol                                                                  
Juneau, Ak 99801-1182                                                          
   POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SJR 37                                     
                                                                               
Ms. Beth Kerttula                                                              
10601 Horizon Drive                                                            
Juneau, Ak 99801                                                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Rebecca Braun                                                              
536 Park St. Apt. B                                                            
Juneau, Ak 99801                                                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Caren Robinson                                                             
Alaska Womens' Lobby                                                           
211 4th Street                                                                 
Juneau, Ak 99801                                                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
Ms. Kelli Mahoney                                                              
925 Lone Cub                                                                   
Wasilla, Ak 99654                                                              
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Lana Henley                                                                
PO Box 3136                                                                    
Palmer, Ak 99645                                                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Andrea Ellison                                                             
PO Box 877276                                                                  
Palmer, Ak 99687                                                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
Ms. Katie Hurley                                                               
PO Box 870157                                                                  
Wasilla, Ak 99687                                                              
   POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 37                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                               
                                                                               
TAPE 98-19, SIDE A                                                             
Number 001                                                                     
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR called the Judiciary Committee meeting to                
order at 1:55 p.m. and announced  SB 284 as the first order of                 
business.                                                                      
                  SB 284 - CRUELTY TO ANIMALS                                  
                                                                               
SENATOR DAVE DONLEY came forward and presented SB 284, which amends            
the current animal cruelty statutes in an attempt to facilitate                
prosecution of the crime of cruelty to animals. SENATOR DONLEY said            
the bill enjoys a wide range of support from mushing associations              
and is also supported by the Department of Law and the State                   
Troopers.                                                                      
                                                                               
MR. HERB SIMON testified via teleconference from Nalchina, saying              
he represents the Alaska Livestock Association supports the bill in            
its present form.                                                              
                                                                               
SENATOR PARNELL moved SB 284 out of committee with individual                  
recommendations. Without objection, it was so ordered.                         
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR called up SB 268 as the next order of business.                
       SB 268 - WAGE CLAIM ASSIGNMENTS TO DEPT. OF LABOR                       
                                                                               
                                                                               
Number 75                                                                      
                                                                               
MR. DWIGHT PERKINS, representing the Department of Labor, came                 
forward to present SB 268. MR. PERKINS said the bill would increase            
the authority of the department to pursue wage claims up to $7,500             
(the recently enacted cap on small claims filings) and tie the                 
department's limit to that of small claims court in the future.                
                                                                               
SENATOR PARNELL moved SB 268 out of committee with individual                  
recommendations. Without objection, it was so ordered.                         
              SJR 37 - CONST AM: MINORS' ABORTIONS                             
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR called up SJR 37 as the next order of business and             
announced his intention to rotate testimony in order to accommodate            
as many people as possible.                                                    
                                                                               
MR. KEVIN CLARKDSON, testified via teleconference from Anchorage,              
counsel to Concerned Alaska Parents. MR. CLARKDSON cited several               
reasons why SJR 37 is a good idea, including  cost. MR. CLARKDSON              
said the cost of putting this question on the ballot is $3,000,                
while litigating the issue might cost up to a million. MR.                     
CLARKDSON also commented that this bill would assure the will of               
the Alaska people shall be done. MR. CLARKDSON noted that other                
parental consent provisions have already been approved by the U.S.             
Supreme Court and concluded that the issue should be decided by the            
people of Alaska.                                                              
                                                                               
Number 205                                                                     
                                                                               
MS. ELIZABETH ARNDORFER, staff attorney for the National Abortion              
and Reproductive Rights Action League, testified via teleconference            
from Washington, D.C.. MS. ARNDORFER presented four points in                  
opposition to SJR 37: first, she said most minors do involve one or            
both parents in this decision and it is impossible to mandate                  
healthy family communication. Second, MS. ARNDORFER stated that                
several medical associations including the American Medical                    
Association, the Society for Adolescent Medicine and the American              
Public Health Association, oppose parental involvement laws, saying            
they can often harm those they propose to protect, especially in               
abusive families. Third, MS. ARNDORFER said many women find it                 
impossible to attend judicial bypass hearings because of                       
intimidation and concerns about confidentiality, particularly in               
rural areas. Also, MS. ARNDORFER said some judges are vehemently               
anti-choice and routinely deny petitions. Last, MS. ARNDORFER said             
the Constitution should be an enduring document which enshrines                
broad principles. She suggested that if SJR 37 is passed, the                  
citizens of Alaska should fear the Legislature may change the                  
Constitution every two years. MS. ARNDORFER concluded by urging the            
committee to focus on reducing unintended pregnancies.                         
                                                                               
Number 307                                                                     
                                                                               
MS. JANET KREPS also testified via teleconference from Denver,                 
Colorado. MS. KREPS represented the Center for Reproductive Law and            
Policy and opposed the bill. MS. KREPS indicated she is co-counsel             
for the plaintiffs in the case Planned Parenthood vs. State of                 
Alaska, and expressed a desire for the court to decide the matter.             
She said the bill seems premature and suggested it will undermine              
the health and well-being of women by delaying medical treatment.              
MS. KREPS said the California Supreme Court recently concluded that            
the parental consent requirement would; "injure the asserted                   
interest of the health of minors and the parent/child                          
relationship." MS. KREPS explained that the fact that proponents               
continue to pursue ineffective, unconstitutional measures                      
illustrates that this is an anti-abortion agenda and not the well-             
being of minors that drives this legislation. MS. KREPS said the               
amendment would be more accurately characterized if it simply                  
stated that minor women seeking abortions do not enjoy the same                
rights of privacy or equal protection afforded all other Alaskans              
by their Constitution.                                                         
                                                                               
MS. DEBORAH JOSLIN, District Chair of the Republican Party of                  
Alaska, thought it was interesting that a person from Washington,              
D.C. would be concerned with Alaskans changing their Constitution.             
She said it is healthy for a teenager to fear telling her parents              
she is pregnant. She told a story in which another parent reported             
to her that his 14-year-old daughter had been counseled to get an              
abortion by a public school counselor. MS. JOSLIN said the point is            
that the state has no business to invade the right of a family and             
rule against parental consent. She concluded that pro-choice groups            
are all for choice when the choice is abortion. She urged passage              
of SJR 37.                                                                     
                                                                               
Number 350                                                                     
                                                                               
MS. CONNIE PAGE, mother of two daughters, said this legislation                
does not make much sense if it forces young women to get consent               
for an abortion if they do not have to get consent to carry a                  
pregnancy to term. She would hope her daughters would come to her              
for counsel during their life decisions, but wants that to be their            
decision, not the state's. MS. PAGE said there are too many bad                
families to force this discussion and she fears it will end in                 
teens attempting to self-abort. MS. PAGE wondered why some                     
legislators seem so intent on controlling women; men are half of               
the problem and we aren't focusing on them. She cited a study that             
found 66 per cent of pregnancies born to underage girls are                    
fathered by adult men. She personally knows of these instances                 
happening in Alaska, and suggested if the legislature is truly                 
determined to decrease the number of teen birth and the abortion               
rate they should focus on men for a while. MS. PAGE said, without              
this focus, the bill simply looks like an attempt on the part of               
some legislators to control women. MS. Page added that her                     
grandmother forced her mother, when she was a young woman, to have             
an abortion she would not have had. The legislation can go both                
ways, she concluded.                                                           
                                                                               
MS. SHARON WAISANEN testified via teleconference from Kenai in                 
opposition to SJR 37, saying the bill seems like an attempt to take            
away the protections of women provided in the Constitution. She                
indicated the legislators are not elected to legislate personal                
religious values. MS. WAISANEN said communication cannot be                    
legislated and the legislature should instead fund education and               
support family planning in order to prevent teen pregnancy. She                
urged the defeat of SJR 37.                                                    
                                                                               
MS. RACHEL WAGNER, a teen parent, said this legislation is part of             
a male-dominated coercion of female sexuality. MS. WAGNER suggested            
this legislation tries to punish the least powerful women in order             
to teach them a lesson. She indicated that attempting to legislate             
morality will not change the poverty rate. MS. WAGNER suggested                
this bill is an attempt by the Republicans to override womens'                 
rights, and asked where the line between church and state has gone.            
                                                                               
Number 415                                                                     
                                                                               
MS. ELEANOR ANDREWS, from Anchorage, agreed with an earlier speaker            
saying this legislation is premature and the issue should be                   
allowed to proceed through the court system. MS. ANDREWS said she              
believes the bill is really about restricting the right to                     
abortion. MS. ANDREWS remarked that it is intrusive for individual             
male legislators to try and legislate their personal religious                 
beliefs. She resides in SENATOR LEMAN's district and has seen no               
groundswell of support for this legislation.                                   
                                                                               
MS. RAMONA DUBY testified against SJR 37, citing three reasons.                
First, MS. DUBY said the Constitution has no business telling the              
whole state how they should live. Second, MS. DUBY suggested this              
legislation would be extremely difficult to implement. Finally, Ms.            
DUBY recalled the pledge of allegiance and did not remember it                 
saying "with liberty and justice for all, except young pregnant                
women." She concluded the bill is premature and unnecessary.                   
                                                                               
MS. LEILA WISE testified in opposition to SJR 37, saying it is not             
always feasible nor prudent for women to involve their parents,                
though children in healthy families generally do. MS. WISE said                
this action is premature and in her opinion an inappropriate mix of            
the legislative and judicial branches. The Constitution is a sacred            
document and we shouldn't be dinking around with it. MS. WISE said             
someone suggested this bill will save money; she finds that                    
humorous as the expense is a direct result of the Legislature                  
passing bills that are unconstitutional. She suggested if they                 
truly want to lessen costs, they shouldn't pass unconstitutional               
bills. MS. WISE restated the idea that the Legislature can't                   
legislate healthy families and suggested they could make better use            
of their time by supporting the Smart Start initiative.                        
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked what is the difference between an abortion               
and another medical procedure like an appendectomy that requires               
parental consent. MS. WISE said CHAIRMAN TAYLOR was mixing apples              
and oranges, as an appendectomy does not have long standing                    
repercussions on the life of the young woman. She said it further              
does not condemn a young woman and her children to a life of                   
poverty.                                                                       
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked, because of the reproductive aspect of this              
procedure, the child should make this decision, but in other                   
medical procedures the parents should consent. MS. WISE said any               
young woman should consult with her family before becoming sexually            
active, but it can't be forced, and in some cases it would not be              
safe to do so.                                                                 
                                                                               
MS. WISE asked CHAIRMAN TAYLOR if a young woman, raped by her                  
father, should be forced to consult her father if she wished to get            
an abortion. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR replied that this was a silly question            
and of course she should not. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR explained this was a             
case for the judicial bypass provision. MS. WISE asked why this                
woman should have to expose her life to a judge and CHAIRMAN TAYLOR            
said other children of parents who do not believe in medical                   
treatment have to do just that in order to get any kind of                     
necessary treatment.                                                           
                                                                               
SENATOR LEMAN asked if MS. WISE was familiar with the judicial                 
bypass process in SB 24, saying her questions led him to believe               
she was not. SENATOR LEMAN said the process is prompt, free, and               
can be conducted telephonically. MS. WISE replied this did not                 
change her mind about it.                                                      
                                                                               
SENATOR LEMAN said this bill just incorporates a provision already             
approved by all nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court. MS. WISE               
commented that she still felt it was inappropriate to pass this                
legislation while the appeal was pending.                                      
                                                                               
Senator LOREN LEMAN said he was glad to see a roomful of people                
interested in the bill and wanted to cover a few points for those              
people who seem misguided about what the legislation is all about.             
SENATOR LEMAN said sometimes deep-seated feelings about the topic              
of abortion cloud people's ability to rationalize about what the               
legislation actually does. SENATOR LEMAN said this resolution                  
allows the opportunity to place in the Constitution a section that             
will confirm the Legislature's authority to enact legislation                  
requiring parental involvement in a minor's decision about                     
abortion; he indicated that 80 per cent of Alaskans support this.              
SENATOR LEMAN said the legislature overrode the Governor's veto                
after exhaustive debate, adding a new judicial bypass provision to             
Alaska's existing statute on parental consent. SENATOR LEMAN said              
Alaska has had a judicial bypass statute on the books since 1970.              
                                                                               
SENATOR LEMAN said Planned Parenthood, along with two abortion                 
doctors, brought a suit in an attempt to stop enforcement of the               
law. SENATOR LEMAN said 39 states have parental consent provisions             
on their books and they work. He stated that the U.S. Supreme Court            
has ruled many times in favor of the constitutionality of these                
provisions.                                                                    
                                                                               
SENATOR LEMAN said he was saddened but not surprised by the Alaska             
Court ruling this provision unconstitutional, even without                     
considering all the facts. SENATOR LEMAN said the deciding judge               
ignored at least four previous decisions upholding the placement of            
restrictions on minors to protect them from their own immaturity.              
                                                                               
SENATOR LEMAN said the Alaska Court's decision undermined the                  
federal rights of parents to provide moral guidance for their                  
children.                                                                      
                                                                               
TAPE 98-19, Side B                                                             
Number 001                                                                     
                                                                               
SENATOR LEMAN indicated that this legislation will bring an end to             
a lawsuit we can ill afford, and would end the inability of the                
state to enforce this law while the issue is litigated. He advised             
this issue should be taken out of the hands of unelected,                      
unaccountable judges and place them in the hands of the voters.                
                                                                               
SENATOR ELLIS asked SENATOR LEMAN if Alaska's Constitution is                  
different from that of other states and SENATOR LEMAN replied that             
all states have Constitutions that are different.                              
                                                                               
SENATOR ELLIS found it interesting that SENATOR LEMAN cited cost               
savings as a reason to circumvent the court process, considering               
he has not shown a great deal of interest in the arguments showing             
the cost savings of decreasing unintended pregnancy. SENATOR LEMAN             
responded by saying his concern for families has been demonstrated             
during his 10 years of service in the Legislature, and this seems              
to him that SENATOR ELLIS is questioning his motives. SENATOR LEMAN            
said SENATOR ELLIS is out of order. SENATOR ELLIS said no personal             
offense was intended, but he could not help but point out the fact             
that many members of the body have not shown a great deal of                   
concern in preventing unintended pregnancies. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR                  
commented that no one claims to have a monopoly on compassion.                 
                                                                               
MS. BETTYE DAVIS, former representative from Anchorage, spoke in               
opposition to SJR 37. MS. DAVIS asked what the urgency was, saying             
the bill will not help anyone. MS. DAVIS agreed with points made by            
the previous speakers and commented that the bill will work both               
ways and some unwilling young women may be forced to have                      
abortions. MS. DAVIS said there are many more important issues                 
facing the legislature and she sees nothing positive coming out of             
this constitutional amendment.                                                 
                                                                               
Number 520                                                                     
                                                                               
SENATOR LEMAN responded that these questions had been answered in              
his testimony. He said the issue is not abortion, but parental                 
involvement. SENATOR LEMAN said this bill has nothing to do with               
the women in the room, who are concerned with protecting their so-             
called right to an abortion. SENATOR LEMAN said there is nothing               
more important than protecting the lives of Alaska's children.                 
BETTYE DAVIS said this amendment will not protect children. She                
said these things have traditionally been taken care of within                 
families without involvement by the legislature. She urged the                 
committee to stop this bill here and move on with more important               
issues.                                                                        
                                                                               
MS. JULIE VAN DRIEL, a mother and a mental health nurse from                   
Douglas spoke in opposition to SJR 37. MS. VAN DRIEL said many of              
the clients she sees are deeply touched by this issue, and by                  
issues of sexual and emotional abuse. MS. VAN DRIEL restated the               
idea that young women in healthy families will talk to their                   
parents about this decision, but, to protect women of all ages, she            
opposes the bill. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked MS. VAN DRIEL if she works             
daily as a counselor and she clarified that she is a psychiatric               
nurse. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if she had been operating under the               
existing law that does not require consent. MS. VAN DRIEL replied              
that many of the women she sees do not know they are protected, she            
said many of them are abused within the family and she sees them               
after their choice has already been made. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if             
MS. VAN DRIEl had occasion to counsel young pregnant women and MS.             
VAN DRIEL said usually by the time she sees them they have become              
suicidal or have run away from home. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked what she            
recommends to those women. MS. VAN DRIEL said she generally                    
encourages women to speak with their families, but leaves the                  
decision to the psychiatrist. She said she has never known a                   
counselor to recommend an abortion, in her experience, counselors              
always advise teen women to speak with their parents. CHAIRMAN                 
TAYLOR surmised it would be a rare instance in which the bill would            
be triggered and MS. VAN DRIEL said in these cases women are likely            
to attempt self-abortion or commit suicide.                                    
                                                                               
Number 425                                                                     
                                                                               
DR. PETER NAKAMURA, Director of the Division of Public Health,                 
testified to the fact that normal, healthy families communicate                
about this kind of situation. However, the prevalence of unhealthy,            
abusive families in Alaska makes this bill an unworkable solution.             
He proposed that the legislature cannot wave a magic wand and turn             
the parents of these families into normal, responsible people who              
will not harm their children. DR. NAKAMURA cited section 22 of the             
Alaska Constitution which guarantees that the right to privacy for             
each Alaskan shall not be infringed. He suggested that infringing              
this right and forcing a confrontation within families will result             
in no benefit at all.                                                          
                                                                               
SENATOR PARNELL asked where the judicial bypass fit into this                  
scenario. DR. NAKAMURA said the judicial bypass is a very                      
intimidating procedure for children who are already having a                   
difficult time. These children, who may live in remote rural areas,            
may not have an easy time facing a judge, even by telephone.                   
SENATOR PARNELL said judges make telephonic decisions all the time,            
and added this procedure is allowed by the U.S. Constitution. DR.              
NAKAMURA remarked that if the Legislature had the answer to this               
problem, they wouldn't be attempting to change our unique                      
Constitution.                                                                  
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR commented that it would not be more inconvenient               
for a young girl to face a magistrate than to fly to Anchorage and             
get an abortion. DR. NAKAMURA replied that some young women may be             
ignorant of the procedure and may end up delayed in finding                    
services. He said this would hinder their ability to make a choice.            
DR. NAKAMURA argued that a child is capable of choosing not to                 
bring a child into a bad situation.                                            
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR commented that DR. NAKAMURA had spent his life                 
employing logical premises. Considering this, CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked            
why "good family values" allow for parental involvement in any                 
child's appendectomy, but not in her abortion. DR. NAKAMURA replied            
that a child needing emergency services will receive them with or              
without her parent's consent. In the case of pregnancy, if the only            
option is to force the child into the hands of her abusive parents,            
there is no option. In medicine, all options are assessed in order             
to find the best one. If it was determined that a woman may be                 
abused by her family another option such as the judicial bypass                
procedure might be pursued. If this was not a feasible option for              
the young woman, DR. NAKAMURA reported that many young women might             
attempt to self-abort.                                                         
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR repeated his question as to what logic insists on              
parental involvement in all other medical procedures except this               
one. DR. NAKAMURA replied it is the same logic that the Supreme                
Court used in deciding to exempt certain services from parental                
notification (i.e., venereal disease, prenatal care), which carry              
such social stigmas that the good of the services outweighs the                
harm. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if DR. NAKAMURA advocated expanding the            
category of medical necessities not requiring parental                         
notification. DR. NAKAMURA replied he would only retain the                    
services that currently fall under that category.                              
                                                                               
SENATOR LEMAN said that section 22 of the Constitution says it,                
"shall be implemented by the Legislature" and that is just what                
they have done. SENATOR LEMAN said he served in Legislature when               
the privacy clause was adopted and now he rues the day he voted for            
it, as he would have never imagined it would apply here. SENATOR               
LEMAN commented that the courts have abused the intent of the right            
to privacy, and have erred. He trusts the Alaska Supreme Court will            
find this out, but, just in case, he supports this amendment.                  
                                                                               
SENATOR ELLIS asked if CHAIRMAN TAYLOR intended to act on this                 
today and CHAIRMAN TAYLOR replied yes.                                         
                                                                               
MR. SID HEIRSDORF, representing Alaskans for Life, supported the               
bill and thanked the sponsors. He agreed with SENATOR LEMAN that               
the courts have made many bad decisions of late. He said he finds              
the phrase "compelling state interest" a terrible one when it means            
killing babies. Mr. HEIRSDORF said the law is nothing more than                
what some judge says it is and he appreciates the Legislature                  
taking action to correct this.                                                 
                                                                               
MR. HEIRSDORF said the problem that exists now is the result of                
raising abortion to the status of a constitutional right, which is             
like saying one plus one is three. Now this is keeping parents from            
having a say in a serious medical procedure. MR. HEIRSDORF believes            
that children have neither the vision nor the maturity it takes to             
make this "life or death" decision.                                            
                                                                               
MR. HEIRSDORF said the Legislature should not focus on                         
dysfunctional families but should first help healthy families.                 
                                                                               
TAPE 98-20, SIDE A                                                             
Number 001                                                                     
                                                                               
MR. HEIRSDORF said this bill may help some families by promoting               
communication. He added this bill would open up other areas to                 
children, such as marriage. SENATOR LEMAN remarked that this is                
"our chance to tell the courts they are overruled."                            
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR stated that it is hypocritical when a woman teacher            
having an affair with a minor student goes to jail when there are              
plenty of men out there carrying on relationships with young women.            
                                                                               
MS. SUSAN REEVE testified via teleconference about two                         
constitutional rights: privacy and free speech. She mentioned that             
when those who testify are interrogated by committee members and               
others, it creates a chilling effect on public testimony. She                  
remarked that the public can hear the senators talk anytime.                   
                                                                               
MS. REEVE disputed the statistic that reports 80 per cent of the               
voters favor this bill, she noted that 74 people came out to                   
testify on this bill and only three have spoken in support of it.              
She indicated that in a recent Anchorage press conference, 10                  
organizations representing more than 3,000 in the state came                   
together and heard discussion by eight speakers, all of whom                   
opposed the bill. She asked the committee to read and consider the             
statement that came out of that press conference and to defeat the             
bill.                                                                          
                                                                               
Number 120                                                                     
                                                                               
MS. NANCY COON also testified via teleconference in opposition to              
the bill, saying she is a parent firmly against parental consent               
who has nothing wrong with her family values. MS. COON suggested               
that this is too specific an issue to be included in our                       
Constitution and restated the idea that family communication cannot            
be forced.  MS. COON said this bill seems predicated on the                    
assumption that children are parental property, an archaic idea she            
does not embrace. MS. COON commented that it's is dangerous to                 
single out any one particular group and deny their basic human                 
rights. She argued it is more important to spend time and money on             
education, and thinks the committee is motivated to pass this bill             
out of fear that the court will rule against them. She is sorry to             
see amendments to the Constitution driven by a committee that fears            
losing. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR remarked that the only poll that counts is             
the one held at election time.                                                 
                                                                               
MS. ALIA HUNTER, a 17-year-old from Mat-Su, cited a statistic of 61            
per cent of teens who would tell their parents if they were                    
pregnant without being compelled to. MS. HUNTER argued that the                
breakdown of the family occurs first and an abortion only after                
that. She believed that some parents will force their daughters to             
have an abortion and this will result in the teen becoming pregnant            
again. She said young women who have abortions are more likely than            
their parenting counterparts to finish high school and be better               
off economically, and she added they are no more likely to suffer              
psychological problems.                                                        
                                                                               
MS. HUNTER recalled a case in Idaho where a young woman who had                
been raped by her father was forced, under a parental consent                  
clause, to ask her father permission for an abortion. He murdered              
her.                                                                           
                                                                               
MS. HUNTER feared this bill would lead to more second trimester                
abortions, increasing the risk to the woman.                                   
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR commented that when he was 17, he hated parental               
consent also.                                                                  
                                                                               
MS. NANCY ROLLINS reflected that she found CHAIRMAN TAYLOR's remark            
to the previous speaker very demeaning. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR replied it             
was not intended as such. MS. ROLLINS repeated several points                  
previously made in speaking in opposition to this bill. She                    
mentioned that teens are able to receive birth services without                
parental consent, including a caesarian section and delivery, as               
well as abortion.                                                              
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked MS. ROLLINS how many teens are impregnated               
against their will, saying those "mature" people had initially made            
the choice to get pregnant in the first place. MS. ROLLINS replied             
that regardless of age, 53 per cent of births (not just                        
conceptions) are from unplanned pregnancies. She said this figure              
is the same throughout the U.S. and it is an American phenomenon,              
not a teenage one. She said this is a wide class of people and the             
discussion should be about all of those who become pregnant                    
unintentionally, and not just single out teenagers.                            
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said juveniles are a separate class of individuals             
and already have limited rights. MS. ROLLINS countered that they               
have the right to make this decision on their own now, and the                 
bottom line is it is their life and they are ultimately responsible            
for it.                                                                        
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR restated his question about parental consent for               
other things and MS. ROLLINS replied that kids can and do have sex             
without their parents' consent and they can also have an HIV test,             
or a chlamydia test, as well as consent to birth services. CHAIRMAN            
TAYLOR noted that people engaging in sex with children under 13 can            
be prosecuted, and asked MS. ROLLINS if she questioned parental                
consent in all other areas. MS. ROLLINS said there are public                  
health and privacy considerations that distinguish this act from               
others.                                                                        
                                                                               
MS. JUDITH COTTRELL, a 20-year-old woman with a 1-year-old son,                
said she does not appreciate the bill. MS. COTTRELL believes                   
abortion is a woman's right, as they are the ones to bear children,            
not men.                                                                       
                                                                               
Number 370                                                                     
                                                                               
MS. BETTY HALL, representing Black Americans for Life, detailed an             
example in which a young woman had planned to get an abortion and,             
after talking to her mother decided against it and now, as an                  
adult, travels around the country speaking against abortion.  MS.              
HALL also made the point that, even if they do not give their                  
consent for a minor daughter's abortion, her parents will be liable            
for any costs of treatment for complications, as well as being                 
required to consent for these additional procedures.  MS. Hall said            
those people who take over the parents role in counseling a young              
woman to get an abortion should also be willing to take over the               
financial burden of paying for any resultant complications.                    
                                                                               
MS. VENITA ROCKSTAD testified via teleconference in opposition to              
the bill, saying if the goal is parental involvement it will be too            
late; the parents are obviously not involved or the young woman                
wouldn't be pregnant. MS. ROCKSTAD declared this bill will bring               
unwanted children into an unwanted environment, which will help no             
one. She asked why there was no legislation pending regarding the              
father of these children. She said she is still waiting to see a               
bill that will help someone. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR noted that she was the            
first speaker to raise the issue of the father. He stated that he              
had suggested legislation to give the father rights in the decision            
for the woman to have an abortion or carry the child to term. MS.              
ROCKSTAD asked if the father is going to carry, bear and raise the             
child and CHAIRMAN TAYLOR replied there are laws on the books which            
require the father, and even his parents in the case of a minor                
father, to provide support for the child. MS. ROCKSTAD retorted                
that supporting a child financially is not being a parent. CHAIRMAN            
TAYLOR said maybe the father should raise the child and MS.                    
ROCKSTAD responded by saying she'd like to see a man breast-feed.              
                                                                               
MR. JOHN MONAGLE, a Juneau local, voiced his support for the                   
legislation. He said both sides agree that there should be fewer               
teenage pregnancies and he asserted that removing parental                     
involvement is tantamount to telling the kids to be sexually                   
promiscuous. MR. MONAGLE also said that the people should decide               
this issue and he urged the committee pass the bill out.                       
                                                                               
Number 457                                                                     
                                                                               
Ms. LISA BLACHER stated three reasons for her opposition to the                
bill. First, the Constitution is a document that should not be                 
changed on the whim of an individual Legislature and Alaskans                  
should be wary of these attempts to deprive us of our personal                 
freedoms. Second, MS. BLACHER said judicial bypass might work in a             
perfect world, but in the real world will lead to delays and                   
complications. Third, the legislation will never stop teen sex, nor            
will it be able to increase family communication. She urged the                
committee to hold it in committee.                                             
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked how many young women actually have had to go             
through a judicial bypass procedure since the bill went into                   
effect. He would also like to know how many have been denied an                
abortion.                                                                      
                                                                               
LISA BLACHER came forward again and observed that part of the                  
problem with judicial bypass is that the judge's decision  may be              
influenced by his or her personal view on abortion. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR            
replied that he was looking for actual numbers in Alaska cases.                
                                                                               
MR. MIKE PAULEY, staff to SENATOR LOREN LEMAN, indicated that there            
are no Alaska statistics because the restraining order on the                  
legislation went into effect before the bill itself became law. MR.            
PAULEY also stated that the approval rate in judicial bypass                   
proceedings in other states has been more than 90 per cent.                    
                                                                               
DR. PETER NAKAMURA said that in one state there were 12,000 cases              
reviewed and less than a dozen were denied. However, he believes               
the system is an imposition and is arbitrary and ineffective.                  
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR noted that the testimony had suggested that many               
women had already been denied.                                                 
                                                                               
Number 536                                                                     
                                                                               
MS. BETH KERTTULA, a member of the Alaska Bar Association since                
1981, testified on her own behalf in opposition to the legislation.            
MS. KERTTULA observed that this legislation reaches far down into              
the court in order to remove this decision from the court system               
and place it before the legislature. She sees this as a disturbing             
trend and a breakdown of the structure of power and suggested the              
legislature should allow the case to proceed through the court                 
system. Regarding the equal protection issue, MS. KERTTULA observed            
that a young woman who is pregnant is allowed to make all decisions            
regarding that pregnancy, including the decision to have a                     
caesarian section or an epidural; this is the heart of the equal               
protection clause. She said if the decision to follow one path is              
allowed, the decision to follow another path must also be                      
permitted.                                                                     
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked MS. KERTTULA how we, as a society, can impose            
a lesser level of rights on juveniles, but seem to confer more                 
rights to a young woman who becomes pregnant. MS. KERTTULA replied             
that this decision is based on a constitutionally protected                    
fundamental right versus other decisions which are not.                        
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said the child is under the age of legal consent to            
have sex. MS. KERTTULA restated that the issue is consistency, and,            
if the child becomes pregnant she is able to make all the                      
subsequent decisions concerning that pregnancy. MS. KERTTULA                   
observed that it is constitutionally illogical to allow one route              
and not the other. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said it must be a medical                   
miracle for a young woman to carry a pregnancy to term without her             
parent's knowledge or consent.                                                 
                                                                               
Number 553                                                                     
                                                                               
MS. REBECCA BRAUN testified to her strong opposition to the bill,              
and to parental consent in general. MS. BRAUN said parental consent            
laws do not foster communication and erroneously assume that all               
parents are functional, good parents. She said the judicial bypass             
provision doesn't account for the intimidation a pregnant teen                 
would feel facing the court system. MS. BRAUN also related that she            
has heard that judges either routinely approve or routinely deny               
judicial bypass petitions, and she believes this procedure puts                
undue stress on a young woman and is a waste of time and energy.               
MS. BRAUN said a young woman denied may attempt to commit suicide              
or try to obtain an illegal abortion. She stated one case in which             
an abortion was denied a 17 +-year-old college bound woman who said            
she was not emotionally nor financially prepared for college and               
motherhood. The judge stated that the girl "had not had enough hard            
knocks in her life." CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said he would like to hear the            
rest of this story and would want to know if the decision was                  
appealed and overturned. SENATOR PARNELL mentioned that MS. BRAUN              
seemed to assume that judges deciding on judicial bypass were                  
making decisions based on their values, he asked then what about               
the judges who declared the prior bill unconstitutional. SENATOR               
PARNELL maintained that you cannot set up one set of judges as                 
inferior to another for deciding against what you believe in.                  
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if she had statistics different from those               
quoted by DR. NAKAMURA. MS. BRAUN had no statistics.                           
                                                                               
Number 490                                                                     
                                                                               
MS. BRAUN set forth that even though she believes the voters will              
reject this amendment, the campaign itself will be divisive and                
she'd rather see both side devoting their energy to reducing the               
underlying problem of teen pregnancy.                                          
                                                                               
MS. BRAUN stated that pregnancy and childbirth are far more risky              
and have far more long term ramifications than abortion and no                 
state in the nation requires parental consent for teen birthing                
services. She also remarked that other medical procedures are                  
value-neutral and do not cause the rage, shame, disapproval and                
other emotions that accompany teen pregnancy, and this is what sets            
them apart from other procedures. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR interjected that             
some religious groups are totally opposed to any medical procedure,            
effectively making all medical treatment value-laden. MS. BRAUN                
replied that, in the majority of American households, teen                     
pregnancy creates the most value-laden decision imaginable.                    
                                                                               
MS. CAREN ROBINSON, representing the Alaska Women's Lobby, spoke               
about what she feared might happen if this legislation went into               
effect. She reflected on the situation in which Roe v. Wade was                
decided, when there were many horrible stories of real women dying             
from illegal abortions. MS. ROBINSON told a personal story about a             
relative of hers who was forced to seek an illegal abortion. She               
remembered the dark, Mexican alley that she took this woman to. She            
also remembered her cries. This was a year in which 5,000 women                
died and countless others seriously injured due to illegal                     
abortions in the United States alone. CAREN ROBINSON counted her               
blessings that her relative was not one of the women who died.                 
                                                                               
MS. ROBINSON asked the Legislature to let the courts do their job              
and to lead the state by supporting programs and policies that                 
support healthy families. Ms. ROBINSON called on them to "pull off             
the shelf" the study, commissioned by SENATOR PEARCE, that showed              
three children a day in Alaska have children. She reminded them of             
the story of Spring Adams, the young woman who was impregnated and             
later killed by her father, when she was forced to seek his                    
approval for an abortion. MS. ROBINSON stated that Alaska has the              
highest rate of domestic violence and child abuse and, as much as              
everyone would like for parents to be involved in these decisions,             
she fears that women will end up killing themselves or getting                 
illegal abortions if they feel they have no other options. She said            
we must trust our young women will seek counsel and make the best              
decisions they can in their circumstances. She concluded by saying             
the legislature and the public should all roll up their sleeves and            
figure out what they can do to prevent this problem.                           
                                                                               
Number 373                                                                     
                                                                               
SENATOR PARNELL asked if she meant to say these things she                     
described are happening, he pointed out that the Legislature can               
only invoke parental consent to restrict abortion "to the extent               
allowed by the U.S. Constitution." MS. ROBINSON replied she was                
only voicing her fear of what might happen. She added that she                 
would rather they had all spent the last four hours brainstorming              
about ways to encourage young people to make better life choices.              
She said she got pregnant right out of high school and is now                  
fortunate to have a beautiful 26-year-old son, however, she said he            
suffered from having a father who did not want him. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR            
asked what role the father should play in this decision. MS.                   
ROBINSON would hope that the young man would want to be involved,              
but generally they don't want to have anything to do with it. She              
said this is the feeling of the young women out there who realize              
that in the end, they are the ones who will be ultimately                      
responsible for bearing the child and raising the child. CHAIRMAN              
TAYLOR asked why the male shouldn't have the same rights as the                
woman in the decision. CAREN ROBINSON replied generally these women            
want to have "a happy little family," but that is simply not                   
reality. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR concluded that he was simply looking at               
the logic of giving one side of the equation the unilateral power              
to make a decision about the result of a consensual act of two.                
CAREN ROBINSON suggested that if the men had played a role in the              
decision, most women would be forced to get abortions.                         
                                                                               
Number 282                                                                     
                                                                               
MS. KELLI MAHONEY testified via teleconference from Mat-Su. She                
testified that poor choices made as a child should not shackle                 
young women to lifelong consequences. She thinks children are                  
reasonable  and shouldn't have to live with the result of a mistake            
for the rest of their life. MS. MAHONEY said judges in the Mat-Su              
are human and have their own ideas about what should happen to                 
children in certain situations. She said the group with her today              
are abstinence educators, who believe it is not in the best                    
interest of children to have children, but believe if it happens,              
both the boy and girl must be responsible. MS. MAHONEY restated                
concern about children who go to their parents being abused. She               
mentioned other parents who back out of their responsibility and               
force siblings to raise other siblings. MS. MAHONEY said the                   
difference between the role of men and women is that women suffer              
in childbirth and abortion as men do not, through no fault of their            
own.                                                                           
                                                                               
MS. MAHONEY said it is important to help young women make choices              
to further their success in life and forcing them to bear or abort             
a child would not be in the girl's self interest. MS. MAHONEY said             
a girl's psychological well-being depends on whether she herself               
made the decision best for her own life. MS. MAHONEY also suggested            
that, at that stage of a girl's life, peer opinions have more                  
influence than those of parents. MS. MAHONEY said in her                       
experience, only one or two of the kids in any given classroom have            
had a discussion that actually met their needs with their parents              
about sex.                                                                     
                                                                               
MS. MAHONEY concluded that there are too many men making decisions             
for poor women and many young women who become pregnant are likely             
to be kicked out of the house by bad parents.                                  
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if the bypass procedure would be better if               
the young women had to go before her organization rather than a                
judge. MS. MAHONEY said it would be preferable for the bill to ask             
that the young women "consult someone" or "attempt to contact her              
parents." She emphasized that some of the circumstances in which               
these young women find themselves are absolutely terrible.                     
                                                                               
Number 80                                                                      
                                                                               
MS. LANA HENLEY reiterated the idea that with good counseling, kids            
can make these decisions. She also hopes that young women would                
consult someone in making this major choice, but stressed that no              
one has the right to play God and the teen women themselves are the            
ones who will have to reconcile their decision with their own God              
and live with it. She recounted her own dysfunctional, sexually                
abusive family. She had to have two abortions due to sexual abuse,             
but said had she needed her mother's consent for these, she would              
have lost her entire family. She said it is not the legislature's              
place to interfere with these decisions.                                       
                                                                               
MS. ANDREA ELLISON, a 16-year-old-mother from an abusive, broken               
home, was thrown out of her home when her mother found out she was             
pregnant. She said parents who throw their children out of the                 
house are not punished. She believes children would rather hide                
their pregnancies than face telling their abusive families.                    
                                                                               
TAPE 98-21, Side A                                                             
Number 001                                                                     
                                                                               
MS. KATIE HURLEY testified via teleconference in opposition to the             
bill. She said this bill puts certain children at risk and does                
nothing to improve communication between parents and children. MS.             
HURLEY emphasized the careful work of the delegates who wrote the              
Alaska Constitution and wanted it to be a broad, basic document as             
opposed to legislative detail. MS. HURLEY stated that this bill is             
legislative detail.                                                            
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if the legislature should impose further                 
responsibilities on the putative fathers. MS. HURLEY replied that              
if the young women don't want the fathers around, it is their                  
choice. She thinks generally the young men won't want to stick                 
around, and might not make the best fathers anyway. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR            
asked again about holding them accountable. MS. HURLEY said they               
have some responsibility now, but money is not what makes a good               
parent; it takes love, and love can't be legislated, nor can                   
communication. MS. HURLEY suggested that we all must set a good                
example for others.                                                            
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR closed by saying he appreciated the candor and                 
logic of all those who testified. He said it had been a fascinating            
discussion and he noted that he had allowed every witness from                 
every site statewide to testify without any time constraint.                   
With no further business to come before the committee, they were               
adjourned.                                                                     
                                                                               
                                                                               

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