Last week Rep. Munoz was the pivotal Yes vote on Senate Bill 49, the bill that attempts to establish a medical definition in state law for publicly funded abortions.
Three of Rep. Munoz’s caucus members — Reps. Austerman, Edgmon and Holmes — voted against the bill. Two minority members — Reps. Gara and Guttenberg — joined them in voting No on SB49. If Rep. Munoz had also voted No, the bill would have died in committee.
Instead, because of Rep. Munoz’s Yes vote, SB49 will now go to the House floor and likely become law.
The state of Alaska has already adopted regulations defining medical necessity for Medicaid to pay for abortions. These regulations mirror the language in SB49. The regulations are currently in court and the judge has issued a restraining order stopping the state from instituting the new regulations until the court case is decided.
Whether you support SB49 or not, because of Rep. Munoz’s Yes vote, Alaskans will pay for another costly lawsuit to fight for a law which will most likely be found unconstitutional. I believe such dollars would be better spent to fund a family planning program to reduce the number of abortions in Alaska.
If a Medicaid family planning program were put in the budget (which Rep. Munoz could do, as no law is required to do it), it is estimated that in the first year, the program would provide services to roughly 11,725 Alaskan women and would prevent approximately 555 abortions. If the legislature truly wants to reduce abortion, they should fund a Medicaid family planning program.
Finally, if Rep. Munoz had listened to her constituents — who provided public testimony overwhelmingly opposing SB 49 — this bill would no longer be an issue.
It’s time Rep. Munoz’s constituents — myself included — elect a representative who votes for, not against, our wishes.