Alaska House passes abortion funding bill


by Your Alaska Link News Team

The Alaska House, on a 23-17 vote, has passed legislation further defining what constitutes a medically necessary abortion for purposes of Medicaid funding.

The House version of SB49 removes language added in the Senate, calling for expanded family planning services.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. John Coghill, supported removing that language, calling it a mandate beyond what the state offers. Minority Democrats sought unsuccessfully to reinsert that provision, saying improved access to those services will help reduce unplanned pregnancies and abortions.

SB49 supporters say the state shouldn't have to pay for elective abortions. Critics say the bill raises constitutional questions.

The Senate will have to decide whether to concur with the House changes.

The bill is similar to regulations adopted by the state health commissioner that are being challenged in court.