A public hearing is set for a landmark bill that would prohibit the use of public funds for abortion and abortion services in Alaska.House Bill 363 is scheduled for public comment in the Health and Social Services Committee on Thursday, March 22, at 3 p.m.
The legislation would end the state’s use of public money for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
The bill also stipulates that state and federal funds made available to various agencies and employees of the state — including money paid by a university student as part of the tuition or fees paid to the University of Alaska — may not be used to provide abortions or facilities or training for an abortion.
“Many Alaskans feel that the taking of any life is wrong,” Rep. Wes Keller said in a statement sponsoring the bill. “At the same time, however, we in fact use tax dollars to pay for the termination of life for an unborn child with no legal consequences.”
Keller noted that the Alaska Legislature has “for years” inserted language in the state operating budget that forbids the expenditure of state funds for abortions. Keller said this prohibition, however, has been regularly ignored. “This has to stop,” Keller said.
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