Committee talks medically necessary abortion again

JUNEAU — For the second time in as many weeks, legislators on Thursday debated a proposal to define in state law what qualifies as “medically necessary” abortion.

That phrase has carried significance in Alaska.

In 2001 when the Supreme Court found the state constitutionally bound to fund medically necessary abortions if other pregnancy-related services under that category are funded.

An array of advocacy groups and concerned individuals provided testimony to the House Health and Social Services Committee. Supporters claim implications of life and death.

Opponents see an intrusion of personal choice.

Critics also voiced displeasure that a bill deemed unconstitutional is taking up so much time late in session.

Committee Chair Wes Keller, a Wasilla Republican, said he plans another hearing.

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