Associated Press

May 2, 1997

Alaska Overides Abortion Vetoes

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) -- The Alaska Legislature on Friday passed two restrictive abortion bills, overriding vetoes by Gov. Tony Knowles.

The new laws now face likely court challenges by abortion-rights activists.

Both vetoes were overridden 40-19, the exact two-thirds vote Republican leaders needed to overturn the Democratic governor's action.

One of the new laws requires pregnant teens 16 and younger to get a parent's or judge's permission for an abortion. The other bans a type of procedure used in some late-term abortions where a fetus is partly delivered through the birth canal then destroyed.

The ban would make it a crime for doctors to use the procedure unless the patient's life was in danger.

Knowles vetoed the bills Wednesday on the advice of Attorney General Bruce Botelho, who said they are illegal and probably would be overturned in court. The bills would infringe on women's privacy and their right to make their own medical choices, Knowles said.

``Alaskans do not want legislators making medical decisions for them,'' Knowles said after the veto overrides. ``Interference in this most personal decision is unwarranted and wrong.''

The Alaska Pro-Choice Alliance said it will file lawsuits to overturn both abortion laws.

Sen. Loren Leman, R-Anchorage, said he hoped the parental-consent law would result in fewer teens choosing abortions.

``Having the maturity of a parent or a court involved in the discussion is going to lead to better decisions,'' Leman said.