Legislature(1997 - 1998)
03/20/1998 01:55 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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.