Right now, the state of Alaska is obligated to provide Medicaid funding for all “medically necessary” abortions. Yesterday the Senate passed a bill that would narrow that definition.
It’s the first time the Senate has passed an abortion bill since 2006. The legislation would only allow for Medicaid payments if a woman is at serious risk of physical harm if she goes through with her pregnancy or if the woman is a victim of rape or incest. It specifically excludes mental health conditions. Supporters of the legislation have characterized that as a loophole through which women can get Medicaid coverage for elective procedures.
Anti-abortion groups have gotten behind the bill, saying it would reduce the number of abortions in the state because low-income women are less likely to go through with the procedure if they can’t secure payment. Sen. John Coghill, a North Pole Republican, sponsored the bill, and he says that his intent was narrower than that.
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- The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska has a new target date for opening its cultural immersion park at the old Thane Ore House. Last year, Central Council officials had hoped it would open this summer. Now, they’re shooting for 2018, after the Juneau Assembly approved a 1.2-acre land lease making it possible Monday evening.
- William Quayle, Jr. is running for the District 1 Juneau Assembly seat. The municipal election is Oct. 4.
- Winds of that speed can uproot trees, knock branches down and damage property, including vessels and aircraft moored and tied down outdoors.
- The aurora borealis, more commonly known as the Northern Lights, were visible in much of Southeast Alaska late Wednesday and early Thursday. Share your Northern Lights photos with us.