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Sen. Dunleavy Defends Proposed Health Agency Abortion Regulations

The state regulations would clarify when Medicaid funding can be used to pay for an abortion.

MAT-SU — Senator Mike Dunleavy spoke out today in defense of proposed new state regulations that would clarify when Medicaid funding can be used to pay for an abortion.

“I applaud Commissioner Streur’s efforts to bring closure to this issue,” said Senator Mike Dunleavy, R-Mat-Su Valley. “The decision has nothing to do with the legality of abortion, but is instead specifically defining “medical necessity” as our Alaska Supreme Court noted was absent in our laws and regulations.”

For 2013, as of May, the state received approximately 260 requests to receive state funding for abortions that failed to indicate whether the procedures were medically necessary.

“Several special interest groups are claiming the proposal is unconstitutional. That simply isn’t true,” said Senator Dunleavy. “Alaskans have a right to decide how their tax dollars are spent and the Alaska Supreme Court has recognized that. The Court also noted, however, that a state funded abortion must be “medically necessary.”  The Court went on to note that this had not been specifically defined by either law or regulation at the time they rendered their decision. The Court was not going to substitute its own decision and left the specifics of what did or did not constitute medical necessity for regulators and legislators to decide upon.”

In order to receive Medicaid funding, one of two requirements must be met. A medical provider would have to certify the pregnancy was a result of rape, incest, or carried a risk to the life of the mother. Or a medical provider would have to certify the mother would suffer from physical harm or “a psychiatric disorder that places the woman in imminent danger of medical impairment of a major bodily function if an abortion is not performed.”

“Don’t be misled,” said Senator Dunleavy. “If those lawmakers who are complaining that the language of this regulatory clarification is somehow unconstitutional, then is it not incumbent upon them to put forth their own proposal for consideration to come into compliance with the Court on the subject?  Rather, it would appear they are hoping the whole issue will somehow disappear. It won’t!”

Public comment for the proposal is open until Sept.27. 

 

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