Alaska Right to Life Statement on SB 49

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With the first session of the 28th Legislature coming to a close, I want to give you an update on what has transpired with respect to our priorities.

Since many of you have inquired about SB 49 (defining “medical necessity” for the purpose of funding abortion), and its companion bill in the House, with new developments afoot in Juneau, I decided it was time to clear the air.

For the last two years, Alaska Right to Life has made it our top short-term priority to end State funding of abortion in Alaska. To that end I worked with Rep. Wes Keller to get a bill introduced that would do exactly that.

In addition to our work on this legislation, our PAC and SuperPAC were instrumental in changing out key legislators who helped to deliver a solid Pro-Life Majority to our beleaguered State Senate.

However, on the eve of the 28th Legislature we were cut out of the process by our “friends” and the original bill that Rep. Keller introduced in the 27th Legislature was handed over to Senator John Coghill who subsequently amended it to include exceptions for rape and incest (elective abortions) without any input by Alaska Right to Life.

After meeting with the Board to discuss the issue thoroughly, we decided that we could not in good conscience support the new bill without some changes. As a result, I went to Juneau and met with key legislators in an attempt to ameliorate the situation. But regrettably, my efforts were rebuffed, and we are left with sub-par legislation that could have lasting negative consequences for the pro-life movement in Alaska.

As if SB 49 wasn’t compromised enough, an unfriendly amendment from Democrat Berta Gardner was accepted on the Senate Floor by the bill’s sponsor that would fund Planned Parenthood, providing “family planning services” under the State Medicaid program.

Although the language is somewhat ambiguous, similar programs in other states have funded contraception, sterilization, and the so-called “morning after pill.”

As an organization whose mission is “to protect innocent life from the moment of conception,” Alaska Right to Life cannot sit idly by and allow this to happen.

In addition to the new Medicaid program created by Senator Gardner’s amendment, we are also concerned by the fact that the bill’s sponsors and other groups are claiming that the rape and incest exceptions are required under the Federal Hyde Amendment, a claim that is demonstrably NOT TRUE.

The Legal Department from the Legislative Affairs Agency, no friend of the pro-life cause, has issued a memo stating in clear and unambiguous terms that the case law surrounding implementation of the Federal Hyde Amendment is split. It has never been adjudicated by the US Supreme Court.

In light of this fact, we believe that the legislature’s attempt to codify bad case law is tantamount to surrender. We cannot afford to cede legal ground to pro-abortionists if we are to win this fight.

With a pro-life Governor, 70% of the State Senate claiming to be pro-life, and 55% of the State House making similar claims it is simply unacceptable that they cannot come to consensus on an issue that even many self-described “pro-choice” Alaskans support: ending State funding for abortion.

In national polling on the issue of tax-payer-funded abortion, public opinion is on our side. Between 60-70% of Americans believe the government should not be paying for abortion. Why can’t our “pro-life” legislators find the moral courage to act on this simple measure?

The time has passed for pro-lifers to allow our legislators to come home for the election cycle and grandstand on the pro-life issue, only to return to Juneau and mark time while Alaska’s children are being executed in abortion mills around the state.

Please contact your legislators and tell them to stop playing politics with human life!

Find your Representative HERE; Find your Senator HERE.

Let them know:

(1) You support defunding elective abortions;

(2) You oppose codifying bad case law;

(3) And that you will not tolerate any more State dollars being funneled to Planned Parenthood.

Thanks for your faithful support and prayers!

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