Via Clara Jeffrey at Mother Jones, one of the last things that Sarah Palin did in office was to further a proposal that would mandate girls under the age of 18 seeking abortions to get parental consent first. This proposal was certified last Thursday, July 2nd and now, backers just need to obtain 32,734 signatures from Alaskans for it to go on a statewide ballot to be voted on next year.
This proposal would require parental notification and consent except in the following situations: 1) the young woman submits a notarized statement saying that she is a victim of abuse by a parent or guardian, 2) the young woman manages to persuade a court to allow her to bypass notification, or 3) a doctor declares a medical emergency.
This proposal is ageist and anti-choice bullshit masking as paternalistic “protection”. Not only is Palin shaming young women for having sex (OMG!!! Gasp!! The thought of teenage girls having sex?!!! Completely unheard of!!) but she is also crafting an anti-choice legacy to remain in her absence. It is a fundamental right for women to have complete autonomy of their own bodies. If we can’t even make our own choices about our own own bodies, what can we do?
Vice President of Alaska’s Planned Parenthood Clover Simon said, “We believe there are several legal problems with this initiative, including the setting of court rules, and our lawyers are now taking a close look at our options.” Planned Parenthood is preparing to counter this initiative because in reality, laws like these further jeopardize young women.
Before Palin’s resignation, two of Alaska’s public health experts, Beverly Wooley and Jay Butler, were canned for intervening in Palin’s anti-choice initiatives. Writes Jeffrey, “Both made the critical mistake of wanting to present scientific evidence on the impact of parental consent laws to the state Senate. They never got the chance; the Senate ‘ran out of time'”. This is outrageous – firing competent staff members for presenting sound scientific evidence!
Wooley meant to cite research from states that had already passed similar legislation. Some of the research demonstrated that with parents involved, young women tend to get abortions later on in their pregnancy which is not only more of a health risk but also more expensive. Meanwhile other findings showed that with parental involvement fewer young women get abortions. The latter result is what an anti-choice crusader like Palin would iterate and reiterate.
Sigh. So while Palin may have resigned, her anti-choice legacy remains behind.