Senate Bill Could Put More Limitations on Abortions for Medicaid Patients
Committee discusses possible complications of bill limiting reasons for abortions
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska State Senate is considering legislation that would restrict abortion funding under Medicaid.
Senate Bill 49 would apply to Medicaid patients. In order to qualify for an abortion, their physician would have to sign off on the procedure, and explain that it was medically necessary. Medicaid would also pay if the pregnancy were the result of a rape or incest.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Wednesday, senators questioned Commissioner William Streur of the Department of Health and Social Services.
Senator Fred Dyson (R-Eagle River) cautioned that this might create dishonesty. He prefaced his comments by saying, "This will make me misunderstood, will make me a target for folks that think that men are all the villain in this, as we close up the discussion [of the] description of what is medically necessary. There have been and there will be women who realize that they don't meet that who will say, ‘I was raped, and therefore the government needs to pay for it.’ I know those are very rare, I only know of a couple, three, in 25 years, but those things can go both ways unfortunately."
Earlier this month, Planned Parenthood testified against the bill, saying it could deter or delay an abortion, which could continue dangerous pregnancies or push women into a second trimester, which would require out-of-state abortions.
Nothing was decided on the bill. It will be brought up again on Friday along with resolutions.