Gov. Sean Parnell has signed a bill that restricts state Medicaid payments for abortions.
The new law puts a set of recently adopted regulations into statute, and takes them a step further. It specifies that the state will not pay for elective abortions. It also limits the term “medically necessary” to cases where a woman’s life or physical health is at risk. The regulations had included a mental health exception.
The new law is expected to be challenged in court. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union are already suing the state over the existing regulations, arguing that they violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause.
Last year, the state’s Medicaid program covered about a third of the 1,500 abortions performed in Alaska.
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- 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.
- More than a third of all the penalties imposed since 1976 were logged last year.
- "You know, we're not talking about some smoky, old wood stove here. We’re talking about high-tech equipment," said Daniel Parrent, a program manager at the U.S. Forest Service.
- "Did you think that ganging together seven different taxes would make it more likely or less likely that any would pass?” asked Eagle River Republican Rep. Dan Saddler.