The Latest: Abortion rights advocates hail Alaska ruling
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on an Alaska abortion law struck down by the state’s Supreme Court (all times local):
Abortion rights advocates are lauding an Alaska Supreme Court decision. That ruling found that a state law and regulation seeking to define what constitutes a medically necessary abortion for purposes of Medicaid funding was unconstitutional.
Jessica Cler (clayr) is with Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii. She praised the court for striking down what she called a “cruel, inequitable restriction on abortion access for low-income women.”
Medicaid provides health care for low-income Alaskans.
The court’s majority opinion said the law and regulation violate the state constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.
Justice Craig Stowers dissented, saying nothing in Alaska’s equal protection clause requires the state to subsidize non-medically necessary abortions for Medicaid-eligible women just because it provides them with medically necessary care.
The Alaska Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional a state law and regulation seeking to define what constitutes medically necessary abortions.
The court, in a 4-1 decision, upheld a 2015 lower court decision.
Both the law and regulation sought to define what constitutes a medically necessary abortion for purposes of Medicaid funding.
The high court ruled disparate restrictions on government funding for women based on their choice of abortion or childbirth deter the exercise of a fundamental right. That’s because, the court said, rejection of one option entails embrace of the other.
Justice Craig Stowers dissented, saying he believes the Legislature can constitutionally determine as a matter of state policy what is medically necessary for purposes of Medicaid funding.