Alaska Governor Vetoes Denali KidCare Expansion Over Abortion Funding Issues
by Steven Ertelt
June 4, 2010
Juneau, AK (LifeNews.com) — Denali KidCare may have had additional money to provide health care assistance, but Gov. Sean Parnell rejected legislators’ expansion efforts because of recent revelations that the program funds abortions. Parnell cut $2.9 million yesterday from the legislature’s annual spending plan to cut the expansion.
The News Miner indicates two-thirds of the costs of the expansion would have come from federal dollars and one-third from the pockets of state taxpayers.
However, because of the information showing the fund pays for abortions, Parnell said he couldn’t in good conscience expand money for a program built on the principle of helping children.
I oppose expanding the governments role in supporting abortion, Parnell said, according to the Fairbanks paper.
"My intention here today is to make sure we don’t expand state government funding of abortions here in Alaska," Parnell said.
Parnell did not say if he would look at efforts to shrink or eliminate the program because of the abortion funding.
Democrats supported the bill, Senate Bill 13, to expand the program and Sen. Bettye Davis, an Anchorage Democrat who sponsored it, reportedly made no mention of abortion during legislative consideration.
According to state records from the Bureau of Vital Statistics, there were 1,875 abortions in Alaska last year and 39 percent received funding from Medicaid to pay for them.
The newspaper also indicates Planned Parenthoods Northwest offices website directs women to Denali KidCare to help pay for abortions when they do not have medical insurance that will do so.
Cathy Stadem, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Social Services, told the newspaper her office is searching to find out exactly what ties the program has to Planned Parenthood and abortion.
Ethan Berkowitz, one of Parnell’s Democratic opponents for governor this November, criticized him for stopping the abortion funding, as did state legislator Hollis French.
"I want to be able to provide those services. But if your governor doesn’t stand for life and liberty, as he understands it in his conscience, then you don’t have a governor," Parnell said.
Parnell said there are "hundreds of abortions being paid for by these funds."
Alaska voters, in August, will have a chance to vote on a parental notification ballot initiative.
ACTION: Thank the governor at
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