• 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

  • Lifestyle

    Decades in the making, scientists confirm identity of prehistoric reptile

    by Hope Miller on Nov 25, 15:57

    The first of its kind discovered in Alaska, researchers have finally identified a fossil of a reptile discovered 64 years ago on the North Slope that lived when dinosaurs roamed the earth. A 12-foot partial skeleton of an ichthyosaur — a prehistoric marine reptile that resembles modern dolphins and whales — was found in 1950 by geologists […]

  • DayBreak

    Travel Tuesday: Delta increasing flights to Alaska

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 25, 12:26

    “When airlines compete, the customer wins.” Sound familiar? It’s one of the many mantras of Daybreak’s travel guru Scott McMurren. He stopped by the studio to talk about how Delta Air Lines is looking to step up its game in the Alaska. New spring offerings coming from Delta Air Lines: Anchorage May 15: Five flights […]

  • DayBreak

    Seeing the Alaska Zoo in a different light

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 25, 11:00

    With less than 6.5 hours of daylight to enjoy every day, there’s one boardwalk lighting up to add a little magic for its year-round residents. The Alaska Zoo Lights are bigger, brighter and more beautiful than ever before. Eileen Floyd with the Alaska Zoo joined Daybreak Tuesday morning to talk about the winter tradition. Floyd […]

  • News

    Suspicious fire extinguished in Juneau landmark

    by Associated Press on Nov 25, 10:19

    Juneau police and fire officials are investigating five suspicious fires in the last month in the Merchant’s Wharf building, the wooden structure on pilings that’s home to restaurants and shops on the city waterfront. Fire marshal Daniel Jager tells the Juneau Empire (http://bit.ly/11UV6sQ) the situation is serious. He says the building is old and a […]

  • News

    Teacher abuse lawsuit heads for mediation

    by Associated Press on Nov 25, 8:43

    The Fairbanks school district and the family of a student who says he was sexually assaulted by a high school tutor will attempt to settle claims through a mediator. The family sued last spring, claiming the district ignored warning signs of inappropriate behavior with students by Hutchison High School tutor and correspondence teacher Claude Fowlkes […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, Nov. 25

    by Brett Shepard on Nov 25, 8:37

    Mostly to partly cloudy skies today with dry weather into the weekend. In the Southeast skies will be cloudy with rain showers at times. In the Interior snow showers will come to an end giving way to mostly cloudy skies. On the North Slope skies will be mostly to partly cloudy with flurries. Out West […]

  • News

    From coast to coast, Ferguson touches a nerve

    by CBS/AP on Nov 25, 7:41

    Last Updated Nov 25, 2014 8:40 AM EST Thousands of people rallied late Monday and early Tuesday in cities across the country, from Los Angeles to New York and dozens of places in between, to passionately but mostly peacefully protest a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer who killed unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown in […]

  • News

    In Alaska, tapping into geothermal energy presents challenges

    by Alexis Fernandez on Nov 25, 7:03

    It’s no surprise that Alaskans pay twice as much for electricity compared to the rest of the country. In rural areas, it can cost three times as much. The state is looking to stabilize some of those costs with the help of renewable energy, such as geothermal energy. But, it’s proving to be a lot […]