Religion in Society

Alaska Voters Approve Parental Notification of Abortion

| by Baptist Press

ANCHORAGE, AK -- Alaska pro-lifers tallied a key victory Aug. 24 with voter passage of a parental notification bill and could score another major win if pro-choice Sen. Lisa Murkowski loses to pro-life candidate Joe Miller in what would be a monumental Republican primary upset.

Murkowski was expected to cruise to victory Tuesday night but found herself in a tight race and trailing Wednesday as votes were still being counted. With 97.95 percent of the vote in, Miller led by 1,960 votes out of approximately 90,000 ballots cast. The Anchorage Daily News reported that, because of absentee ballots that are mailed in, the final result may not be known for more than a week.

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Murkowski is pro-choice and has frustrated social conservatives over the years, including voting to federally fund embryonic stem cell research and voting to keep in place President Obama's policy that funds organizations that perform or promote abortions overseas. She supports the Roe v. Wade decision and says on her website that "abortion is a very personal issue that must be left to a woman and her physician."

Miller, endorsed by Alaska Right to Life, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, made Murkowski's abortion views an issue in his campaign and says on his website he's "unequivocally pro-life" and believes "life must be protected from the moment of conception to the time of natural death."

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Alaskans passed the parental notification initiative by a margin of 55-45 percent. Known as Measure 2, the new law requires that abortion doctors, prior to performing an abortion on a minor, notify at least one parent or guardian. It includes a judicial bypass. Alaska is the 37th states with a parental notification or requirement law, according to Americans United for Life.

"The people of Alaska have made it clear that parents should have the fundamental right to be informed before their children make a life-changing decision to have an abortion," Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, said in a statement.

Spending by both sides of Measure 2 totaled nearly $1 million, according to the Anchorage newspaper.