Palin won't budge on parental-consent abortion bill

JUNEAU -- State legislators are talking about compromising on a major abortion battle over parental consent, but Gov. Sarah Palin isn't interested in the deal.

The compromise under discussion would be legislation that requires parental notification but not consent. That means parents would have to be told about their teenager's plan to have an abortion but wouldn't have to give their permission for it to happen.

North Pole Republican Rep. John Coghill, with Palin's backing, is still pushing for the full version generally requiring parental consent before girls under age 17 could get an abortion. But the state Senate blocked a similar bill last year and, without the compromise, it's hard to see how that wouldn't happen again.

Coghill is well aware of that, and opponents of his bill have signaled their openness to the compromise.

"If that's all I can get then it's something I would look favorably at," Coghill said.

Coghill conceded if anything can get passed through the Legislature it's probably going to be the requirement for parental notification and not consent. He thinks he has the votes to get his consent bill passed in the state House but "my hurdle is the Senate," he said.

Parental consent stalled last year in the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Anchorage Democratic Sen. Hollis French. French is the committee chair again and there is no indication that he's changed his mind. French does, however, sound open to the compromise that requires only parental notification.

"I think that's certainly an issue that folks have a lot less concern about," French said. "If there is a compromise possible, it's in that area."

Eagle River Republican Sen. Fred Dyson, the most outspoken abortion opponent in the state Senate, said he could live with it.

"As my wife says about me, it's better than nothing," Dyson said.

But the bill is also a big priority for the governor, and Palin is not interested in a compromise.

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