Alaska Republicans are still trying to narrow the number of women eligible for Medicaid support for medically-indicated abortions, a move they have already been warned by the state Supreme Court is likely unconstitutional. However, a plan to force those impregnated as a result of rape to immediately report the crime or lose the right to an abortion under Medicaid has been removed from the bill.
Despite the failure of the reporting requirement, Senate Majority Leader John Coghill still supports other measures in the bill to limit Medicaid coverage of safe abortion care to those instances in which a doctor documents a serious risk of death or “impairment of a major bodily function.” The bill would not consider a woman’s health at risk unless it represents a “life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy” that places the woman’s health at risk.
“Though the removal of the insensitive requirements for victims of sexual assault is one step forward, the fact of the matter is this bill still places politicians between women and their doctors,” Treasure Mackley, political and organizing director at Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, told the Associated Press. “Restricting access to state-funded abortion is blatant government overreach and would restrict our fundamental right to privacy and equality protected by the Alaska Constitution.”
Last year’s attempt to restrict abortion access for poor women via regulation by the state board of health failed after the Supreme Court warned the state that the restrictions would be unconstitutional.