Alaska legislative candidates clarify abortion views

by Amanda Coyne and Ben Anderson/Alaska Dispatch

Six-term Missouri Congressman and current Senate candidate Todd Akin has been under heavy fire in the wake of his recent statement on how a woman’s body can prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape,” because it “has ways to shut that whole thing down.” Akin was replying to a question about whether abortion should be legal in cases of pregnancy resulting from rape. On Tuesday, he announced again that he would stay in the race, despite calls for him to drop out.

In a state as heavily Republican as Alaska, abortion has long been a hot topic, even in recent years. In 2010, voters approved a ballot proposition that would require parental notification in the case of a girl 17 or younger seeking an abortion. And pro-life groups have been pushing for changes in Alaska’s Medicaid provision that would amend language about what constitutes a medically necessary abortion. Pro-life legislators seek to make abortions less accessible.

When Alaskans vote in Tuesday’s primary election, some will vote on candidates’ fiscal policies, others on their resource management positions or their environmental stances. Others, from all ends of the political spectrum, will vote on value issues like abortion and gay marriage.

To help those voters decide, Alaska Family Action has released its 2012 Values Voter Guide, which surveys candidates in contested primaries on 12 value-related topics. Alaska Family Action is “the legislative, lobbying arm” of the Alaska Family Council, a conservative public-policy organization based in Anchorage.

Five of those questions relate to abortion, including whether a candidate supports government funding for Planned Parenthood, and determining what constitutes a “medically necessary” abortion.

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