Alaska: Restrictive “Medically Necessary” Abortion Rule Change Approved


Restrictive rule change could cost taxpayers $1 million in legal fees

[Alaska] — Today, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the office of Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell certified adoption of the “medically necessary” abortion rule change. The rule, similar to failed legislation from last year, is so restrictive that it’s essentially a nearly complete ban on Medicaid funding of abortion.

Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest (PPVNW) condemns this decision by Mead Treadwell and DHSS to adopt an unconstitutional policy that interferes with women’s personal medical decision-making. The Alaska Supreme Court has already considered exactly this type of restriction, ruling that women’s pregnancy decisions need to be given equal protection under the law. Additionally, during the open comment period the state received an overwhelming number of messages from Alaskans against the change – outnumbering those in favor by nearly a five to one margin.

“Every Alaskan should be able to make the pregnancy decision that’s best for herself and her family,” said Treasure Mackley, PPVNW’s Political & Organizing Director. “Today, Mead Treadwell and the DHSS have trampled on this right in a misguided restriction that will interfere with women’s personal medical decisions and end up costing taxpayers more.”

If the “medically necessary” rule is challenged in court as unconstitutional, DHSS Commissioner Bill Streur has estimated it would cost the state around $1 million to try to defend. That’s a cost that Alaskans can’t afford and shouldn’t be asked to pay when restrictions like these have already been found unconstitutional.

“If the Lt. Governor is actually interested in reducing abortions or saving money, he should focus on increasing access to birth control and funding for family planning services,” said Mackley. “This restriction only serves as another example of government officials putting themselves between a woman and her doctor. Only a health care professional should determine what’s ‘medically necessary,’ not a collection of bureaucrats in Juneau.”