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The U.S. Supreme court issued an 8-1 ruling on March 20 which nullifies a lower court decision claiming  that minors can get abortions without prior parental notification.

The high court’s ruling orders the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss its decision claiming minors could obtain abortions without parental notification so long as they obtain permission from a judge.

The legal issue arose when a Missouri teen requested court permission for an abortion without telling her parents, as was required by state law at the time. While the 8th Circuit struck down the Missouri law, the Supreme Court overturned the decision.

The case presented unique legal challenges given the Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs decision to strike down Roe v. Wade. Abortion is now banned in Missouri except when deemed “necessary” to prevent serious damage to a mother’s health or to save her life.

The State of Missouri argued that the 8th Circuit ruling should be revisited given that there is now no recognized “right” to abortion in the U.S. When the lower court declined to revist, the Supreme Court stepped in and said the 8th Circuit’s decision was “moot” and could not, therefore, be used by future courts as a precedent for decisions against parental consent.

Alaska is one of a minority of states that does not require parental notification or consent before a minor gets an abortion. While Alaska has successfully passed laws affirming both parental notification and consent, the State Supreme Court has struck them down.

A spokesperson from the Alaska Department of Law said the department has not yet read the Supreme Court case in detail, but that ruling likely won’t affect Alaska law.

“[A]s it is a federal court case, it likely involves the application of the federal constitution,” the Dept. of Law Communications Director Patty Sullivan said in an email. “Alaska’s parental consent and parental notification laws were both invalidated under the Alaska Constitution, not the federal constitution. And Dobbs did not do anything to overturn state constitutions or a state court’s interpretation of a state constitution.”

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SCOTUS strikes down ruling that let minors get abortions without parental notice

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.