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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- In his resignation letter, Democrat Luke Hopkins said the legislature "has utterly failed Alaskans."
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- Instead of Negro, Oriental, Eskimo and Aleut, certain laws will now refer to African Americans, Asian Americans and Alaska Natives.
- The state is granting nearly $300,000 to improve water quality in some of Alaska's most damaged watersheds, including Juneau's orange-tinted Duck Creek.