Letter to the editor by Meade Treadwell Lieutenant Governor.
I read with interest the Northern Light’s Editorial Opinion piece entitled “Abortion legislation gains momentum nation-wide,” dated February 15. It refers to Proposition 2, the parental notification bill, which passed on the August ballot, and erroneously states that the Attorney General of Alaska declared it unconstitutional.
In fact, John Burns, our Attorney General, is currently, vigorously, defending the constitutionality of that initiative against a lawsuit intended to set the law aside. While a court has deferred some of the penalties in the initiative, it left standing the law’s new requirement of parental notification by a doctor when a minor is seeking an abortion. I am glad for that, as I actively supported that initiative, and know it was crafted to respond to other Supreme Court opinions that outlawed a “parental consent” requirement.
There was an Attorney General’s opinion, however, which caused me –as Lieutenant Governor – to not allow a new voter initiative to move forward. That new initiative would have outlawed abortion by placing the “natural right to life” clause in the Constitution above others. The Attorney General found that unconstitutional. I followed by not allowing that measure to go forward to collect signatures to get on the ballot, and I am being sued for that decision as well.
I agree with your admonition that citizens should stay engaged on this issue. Government exists to protect life, to protect our liberties, and I pray that those two goals not forever be in conflict.