Judge temporarily halts Alaska abortion restrictions during Planned Parenthood lawsuit

People rally for abortion rights in front of the Capitol on May 21, 2019 (Photo by David Purdy/KTOO)

An Alaska Superior Court judge has issued a preliminary injunction halting part of a state law that restricts who can conduct abortions.

Judge Josie Garton issued a ruling on Tuesday that allows nonphysician health care providers, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, to provide medication to induce abortion.

The case was brought by a branch of Planned Parenthood that serves the Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana and Kentucky. The organization filed a lawsuit in 2019 against a law that prohibits anyone other than a licensed physician from performing abortions.

Alaska is one of many states that have laws saying only certified doctors can perform abortions. Proponents say they help prevent unsafe abortions.

Planned Parenthood argues the concern is outdated, especially now that nurse practitioners and other nonphysicians already prescribe the so-called “abortion” pill to help women following miscarriages.

The injunction only applies to medication abortions. The case will be decided at trial, scheduled for July.

Alaska Public Media

Alaska Public Media is our partner station in Anchorage. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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