As of December 14, 2010, abortion providers in Alaska are required to notify a parent, legal guardian or custodian of a minor's decision to have an abortion. The notice must be provided 48 hours before the procedure.
At Planned Parenthood, we encourage all minors to tell a parent, guardian or custodian of their decision to terminate a pregnancy. However, if a minor feels unable to discuss her decision with a parent, guardian or custodian, there are other options available to her. They are described below in the Questions and Answers. For additional questions, please contact the Planned Parenthood health center nearest you.
Alaska Parental Notice or Consent Law
Questions and Answers
What does the Alaska Parental Notice Law mean for teens who are seeking an abortion?
The law requires that, before a minor has an abortion, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in Alaska must:
• obtain written consent from a parent, guardian or custodian, OR
• if a parent is unable or unwilling to provide written consent, then Planned Parenthood must notify the parent of a minor’s decision to have an abortion; OR
• if a minor does not want to involve a parent in her decision to have an abortion, she may go to court and get permission from a judge.
This is known as a “judicial bypass.” Planned Parenthood will help a minor find a lawyer, at no cost to her.
Who is considered a minor?
A minor is a person under age 18.
What if I am “emancipated” or live independently from a parent?
The notice or consent requirement DOES NOT apply to minors who are 16-17 IF:
• she is or has been married;
• she supports herself or is otherwise independent from the care and control of a parent, guardian, or custodian;
• she has a court order of emancipation.
What if a minor lives with someone who is not a parent?
Throughout this guidance we often refer to “parent.” When we do that, we also include guardian or custodian. If a minor lives with a guardian or custodian, then that person may provide the consent or, alternatively, we will provide the notice to that person.
How does a parent prove he or she consents to my abortion?
A parent, guardian or custodian may consent, by accompanying the minor to her appointment and signing an authorization for the abortion. Alternatively they may come to Planned Parenthood prior to the procedure and sign the authorization. With a signed consent, there is no waiting period. A parent, guardian or custodian must bring government issued photo ID. Alternatively, if a parent consents but is unable to come to Planned Parenthood, the minor may bring a signed and notarized consent form to the appointment, indicating her parent’s consent.
How will the parent, guardian or custodian be notified?
If a parent, guardian or custodian cannot or will not provide a written consent, then we must provide them notice of the minor’s decision to terminate the pregnancy. We will first attempt to notify the parent, guardian or custodian by phone. If we are unable to reach the person by phone, we will send a certified letter. When we call on the phone, we will ask questions to help verify that the person on the line is the parent, guardian or custodian. After we have provided the notice, we must wait 48 hours before the procedure can be performed.
Can a parent, guardian or custodian sign a letter saying that they have been notified?
No. The law does not permit this. Even if a minor has informed them of her decision, the physician must also provide notice. We recommend that a minor tell her parent, guardian or custodian that Alaska law requires a physician to contact them, and they should be expecting a call.
What if a parent, guardian or custodian does not want the minor to have an abortion?
As long as the parent, guardian or custodian is notified, a minor can obtain an abortion. This law only requires notification, not consent.
What if the minor lives in a home where a parent (or guardian or custodian) has abused her (including physical, sexual, or emotional abuse)?
The law has protections for minors living in abusive situations. In order to establish you live in an abusive situation you must do two things:
(1) sign a notarized statement that abuse has occurred AND
(2) provide a notarized statement from:
(a) law enforcement;
(b) representative of DHSS who investigated abuse;
(c) sibling 21 years or older;
(d) grandparent; or
If you are unable to provide the corroborating documentation, the abuse exception does not apply. In accordance with Alaska law, PPGNW is required to inform the Office of Children’s Services if it learns a minor has been abused by an adult who has a position of authority with the minor.
Is there another option if a minor cannot – or does not want to -- notify a parent, guardian or custodian?
Yes. If a minor cannot or does not want PPGNW to notify a parent, there is an option to go to court and get permission from a judge. This is called a judicial bypass.
Can you tell me more about the Judicial Bypass?
The judicial bypass allows a minor to file a petition in court and request a judge to give her permission to have an abortion without notifying her parents. If the judge determines that the minor is mature enough to make this decision, or that telling her parents isn't in her best interest, the judge will give the minor an order to bring back to Planned Parenthood. The court procedure is free and confidential. Planned Parenthood will help a minor find a lawyer at no cost. The court will also appoint a lawyer to help a minor. Because the law is so new, we do not have more detailed information to provide at this time. More information will be posted as it becomes available.
What if I want to get started on a Judicial Bypass on my own?
Here are a few links to the Alaska State court system to help get you started:
(1) Probate Rule 20 explains the Judicial Bypass
(2) Judicial Bypass Packet Cover Sheet
(3) Instructions for how to Request Permission to Bypass Parental Notice and Consent
(4) Petition Form to Bypass Parental Notice or Consent
What happens if a minor lives in another state but wants to have an abortion in Alaska?
The parental notice or consent requirements apply to all abortions performed in Alaska regardless of where the minor usually lives.