2 legislators want abortion regulations withdrawn

JUNEAU (AP) — Two Democratic state senators want Alaska’s health commissioner to withdraw proposed regulations that would define what constitutes a “medically necessary” abortion for purposes of Medicaid funding.

In a letter to Commissioner Bill Streur, Sens. Berta Gardner and Johnny Ellis say the plan’s likely to be challenged and struck down.

The Alaska Supreme Court has held the state must fund medically necessary abortions if it funds medically necessary services for others with financial needs. The new proposal would further define “medically necessary.”

A legislative attorney, who reviewed the proposal at another senator’s request, said without a compelling state interest, a court would likely find the proposal “unconstitutionally discriminatory.”

A health department spokeswoman has said the agency doesn’t comment on proposed regulations during the public comment period. That period ends Sept. 27.

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