Are taxpayers in Alaska required to pay for all abortions under our Medicaid program?


SB49, a bill introduced by Senator JohnCoghill (R) North Pole and co-sponsored by Senators Donny Olson, Pete Kelly, Fred Dyson, Cathy Giessel, Mike Dunleavy and Peter Micciche addresses this issue with the following three premises - 

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  1. UNDER THE ALASKA CONSTITUTION, THE STATE ONLY HAS TO PAY FOR "MEDICALLY NECESSARY" ABORTIONS
  2. THE STATE DOES NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR ELECTIVE ABORTIONS
  3. THE STATE CAN DEFINE "MEDICAL NECESSITY" AS LONG AS STANDARD, NEUTRAL MEDICAL TERMS AND CONCEPTS ARE USED

This Wednesday, February 27th at 1:30pm, a hearing will take place in Juneau that should shed some much needed light on what has become a heated topic of interest. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will take testimony from three individuals who have national prominence in their respective fields. 

 

This Wednesday, February 27th at 1:30pm, a hearing will take place in Juneau that should shed some much needed light on what has become a heated topic of interest. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will take testimony from three individuals who have national prominence in their respective fields. 

  • Dr. John Thorp, Jr. MD is a professor, Division Director and researcher at the Dept. of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill.
  • Dr. Susan Rutherford is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Washington Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology with a specialty in Maternal-Fetal medicine. Dr. Rutherford has been a Medical Director and Perinatologist and is widely published.
  • Dr. Priscilla Coleman is a professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University and is the Founder and Director of the World Expert Consortium for Abortion Research and Education (WECARE)

Each expert testifying brings an extensive scientific background so that legislators can make an informed decision about SB49.

According to Sen. Coghill's sponsor statement, "In 2001, the Alaska Supreme Court determined the state must pay for medically necessary abortions for participants in the Medicaid program.  Since 2001, the term "medically necessary abortion" has acquired a constitutional component of unknown scope.  The relatively few Alaska cases involving abortion rights do not provide guidance as to how broadly the term "medically necessary abortion" is to be construed.  SB49 answers that issue."

Ultimately, the Court's rationale was that the constitutional right of choice does not include an entitlement to the money needed to pay for the choice.  Although the State may not place undue obstacles in a woman’s path to abortion, it need not remove those obstacles it did not create.  In other words, the obstacle between an indigent woman and her desired abortion is her own indigency - something the State did not create.

In the end, this is not about whether you can get an abortion in Alaska.  It's simply clarifying that public taxpayer funds should not be required to pay for abortions that are elective and have nothing to do with an actual medical necessity.

The more we peel back the onion, the more evident it becomes that some people believe that ALL abortions are medically necessary and that there isn't such a thing as an elective abortion.  Strange but true.

Tune in or listen to the testimony this coming Wednesday at 1:30pm by going to Alaska Legislature TV and stay alert for future Action Alerts when we'll be asking you to contact legislators and let your voice be heard.


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  • commented 2013-11-24 08:11:46 -0900
    Thank you