Alaska House budget draft cuts Medicaid funding for abortions

Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 4:55 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Alaska House of Representatives successfully passed a draft of its operating budget on Saturday, April 9, sending it to the Senate for debate.

In its budget, the legislature voted in favor of an amendment cutting Medicaid funding for abortions in the state.

The Alaska Supreme Court has previously ruled that denying Medicaid funding for abortions would violate the equal right to privacy in the state’s constitution.

District Representative Adam Wool voted against the amendment, calling it a wedge issue, and saying it’s sometimes used for campaign purposes. “I’m a pro-choice type of person, and a lot of discussions between women and their doctors, I think, are private,” he explained. “That’s what our constitution says, and that’s what I support. People have different reasons for seeking an abortion. Some are medical or health-wise. This amendment didn’t cover the cases of rape or incest, and those are what I think should be very viable exemptions or exceptions to any kind of abortion language.”

The amendment passed with a vote of 21 to 18.

Some of those in favor argued that right to privacy applies to the unborn as well.

While Representative Kevin McCabe said the issue should go to the courts as many times as necessary for a reversal, Representative Sarah Vance made an emotional speech from the House floor in support of the amendment. “The life within you is precious,” she said, “and carrying children isn’t necessarily a sacrifice. It is a privilege. It seems like this becomes a political discussion, but it’s not. It shouldn’t be. You know, women have been bearing children for thousands of years and doing a pretty fantastic job of it.”

From the Interior, Representatives Mike Cronk, Bart LeBon, Mike Prax and Steve Thompson voted in favor, while Grier Hopkins voted against.

We reached out to the other Interior legislators, but were unable to schedule interviews.

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