Alaska Bill Would Prohibit Taxpayer Funding of Abortions

State   |   Joel Davidson   |   Mar 23, 2012   |   12:15PM   |   Juneau, AK

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, April 2, 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.

The bill would save the state approximately $750,000.

“Your support of HB363 says the time has come for the legislature to make a stand,” Keller stated. “HB 363 does not outlaw abortions, it simply stops state funding for much of it.”

Submitted with the bill was a 21 page legal analysis of recent abortion law rulings by the Supreme Court. The brief noted that the Supreme Court, three times, has ruled that states receiving federal Medicaid funds have “neither a statutory nor constitutional obligation” to fund elective abortions or provide public facilities for the performance of abortions.

To contact members of the House Committee on Health & Human Services, click here.

To watch the hearing live on Thursday, March 22, at 3 p.m., click here.

To offer public comment on the bill constituents are encouraged to attend the nearest Legislative Information Office (LIO). Those unable to access an LIO can also call 855-463-5009 to offer public comment. Note: Joel Davidson is the editor of the Catholic  Anchor, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska. This article originally appeared there and is reprinted with permission.