• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 53s

Alaska lawmakers pass abortion funding bill

By Alexis Fernandez 4:09 PM April 14, 2014
JUNEAU –

The Alaska Legislature has passed a controversial bill defining what constitutes a medically necessary abortion for purposes of Medicaid reimbursement.

On Monday, the Senate voted 13-7 to pass the measure, and on Sunday the House passed it 23-17. The House version removed an amendment for the Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which would have expanded family services.

Under the new measure, the state Medicaid program can only cover abortions that pose a serious risk to the life or physical health of a woman, and must fall under new criteria of 21 specific conditions.

Jessica Cler, with Planned Parenthood in Anchorage, says this bill is unconstitutional and hurts one group of women.

“Unfortunately the list is so restrictive that it’s tandem to a ban on abortion funding for low-income women that won’t be able to get the services that they need because of both the regulation and this bill,” Cler said.

Right now, in order to qualify for a medically necessary abortion under Medicaid, a doctor must sign off.

Last year, Gov. Sean Parnell approved new regulations similar to those in this bill.

The rules were supposed to go into effect last month, but Planned Parenthood sued and it’s now on hold awaiting trial.

“There shouldn’t be a list in the first place, politicians shouldn’t be making lists telling doctors how to treat what is best for their patients. Medical professionals should be able to determine what is the best care for their patients,” Cler said.

According to the Alaska Deptartment of Health and Social Services, in 2013 Medicaid paid for 513 of the 1,450 abortions performed in Alaska.

Supporters of the bill say the state should not pay for elective abortions, and this helps clarify who’s eligible.

Alaska Family Action released a statement saying:

“This bill will help ensure that taxpayer dollars are not wasted by paying for abortions that have no medical purpose whatsoever,” said Jim Minnery, president of AFA.

While lawmakers say the new rules are here to stay, Planned Parenthood says their fight is far from over.

We talked to Sen. John Coghill, a Republican from North Pole and the sponsor of SB49.

Coghill says this bill provides clarification for doctors, as the federal government left it up to states to decide what constitutes medically necessary.

Latest Stories

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, March 30

    by KTVA Weather on Mar 30, 21:24

    Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound Expect mostly cloudy skies for the area, with the bulk of showers along the Eastern Coasts and Prince William Sound, although there could be a light shower or two crossing over the mountains. Expect winds in wind prone areas, and gaps will increase as a weak front pushes through. […]

  • News

    Couple in Homer proposes yurts for Alaska’s homeless

    by Shannon Ballard on Mar 30, 21:20

    Housing first — the idea is to offer permanent, affordable housing for the homeless to stop them from ending up back on the streets. It sounds simple enough and appears to be working to end chronic homelessness in other parts of the country. Now, a Homer couple is putting their own twist on the concept. When […]

  • Lifestyle

    In Anchorage, pop-up studio brings art to you

    by Heather Hintze on Mar 30, 19:27

    It’s a night out with cocktails and canvas. On a recent weekday night, SubZero Bistro and Microlounge was full of pop-up painters. “We are painting wine glasses, which is really appropriate, we’re at SubZero,” explained Larissa Villar Aaberg. “They have a still life on their table, so they can paint from a picture or the […]

  • News

    After Chester Creek trail attack, Anchorage residents raise safety concerns

    by Bonney Bowman on Mar 30, 19:09

    A weekend attack is raising concerns about safety on Anchorage’s trails. A woman was stabbed on Chester Creek Trail Sunday afternoon. The victim told officers from the Anchorage Police Department that she was texting and walking near the Northern Lights Boulevard overpass when someone came up behind her, knocked her out, stabbed her and went through […]

  • News

    Coast Guard rescues sick mariner near Cold Bay

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 30, 18:30

    A helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Kodiak medevaced a fisherman with severe abdominal pains from a ship 30 miles south of Cold Bay on Sunday. The chopper and a Coast Guard cutter happened to be in the area as part of a continuous Bering Sea patrol mission when guard watchstanders received […]

  • Crime

    Fairbanks PD: Man arrested for DUI after crashing vehicle, stealing forklift

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 30, 17:54

    A Delta Junction man was arrested Monday after crashing his vehicle along Phillips Field Road, then swiping a forklift to try and free his vehicle. His breath alcohol level was .230 — nearly three times the legal limit, according to a release from the Fairbanks Police Department. Police have identified the subject as Aleksandr Glushko. […]

  • Lifestyle

    Endangered beluga whale population sees slight increase in 2014

    by Hope Miller on Mar 30, 15:47

    An endangered beluga whale population saw a slight increase in 2014, but researchers say it’s not a significant jump. The 2014 Cook Inlet beluga population estimate is 340 whales, an increase from 2012 when the population was roughly 312, according to a release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They were first listed as […]

  • Politics

    Bill to decriminalize marijuana clears the Senate

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 30, 14:31

    A bill to decriminalize marijuana cleared the state Senate Monday by a 17 to 3 margin. Senate Bill 30 has gone through various permutations, seesawing between taking pot off the state’s list of controlled substances to putting it back on. Opponents to the bill, three Democrats, said the legislation did not comply with the spirit […]