Alaska abortion laws are less restrictive than those in much of the nation. However, recent new laws have sparked controversy.
The 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision upheld a woman’s legal right to seek an abortion. However, the court left it up to the states to regulate how, when and where abortions could be performed. Alaska was among few states where abortion was legal before Roe v. Wade.
According to an overview of abortion laws by the Guttmacher Institute, Alaska
has few restrictions on abortions compared with other states. While the state mandates counseling for women, which includes information on fetal pain and the link between breast cancer and abortions, the state offers many abortion freedoms not available in other states.
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Alaska does not require a waiting period between an initial consultation with a doctor and an abortion. Twenty-eight states have this kind of requirement as of July 2015. Many require a 24 hour wait, but some states require as long as 72 hours.
Alaska requires that minor children inform parents of the decision to have an abortion. Parental consent is not required. The majority of states (38) have some kind of parental involvement or consent requirement for minors seeking abortions.
Like most states, Alaska requires abortions be performed by licensed physicians.
The pro-life group Americans United For Life noted that the Alaska
Constitution allows for a “broader right to abortion” than the U.S. Constitution. The group ranked Alaska at No. 36 in its “Life List” ranking, which evaluates states based on pro-life advancements. It also reported that an unborn child can be considered a victim in a crime in the case of assault or death. A wrongful death case could be brought in an abortion if a child is born alive and then dies.
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