Dustin Siggins

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Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue Alaska to stop restrictions on taxpayer-funded abortions

Dustin Siggins

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, February 14, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The ACLU, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Planned Parenthood are teaming up to stop Alaska's new regulations on state-funded abortions.

In a lawsuit filed on behalf of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest in Alaska Superior Court, the three organizations have challenged regulations requiring doctors committing abortions paid for by state Medicaid dollars to officially certify that the abortion is “medically necessary” in order to protect a woman from serious health risks. The doctor must also certify the woman is a victim of rape or incest, or one of 21 other conditions that could harm “a major bodily function” or cause greater physical or psychological damage to disorders.

The regulations, which would have gone into effect on February 2, were held up by an injunction earlier this month.

According to statements provided to Huffington Post, a Planned Parenthood spokesperson said the lawsuit is based around a 2001 Alaska Supreme Court decision that said Alaska has to fund medically necessary services for low-income residents, including abortions.

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"State Medicaid in Alaska can't single out abortions and treat them differently from other Medicaid services," the spokesperson told Huffington Post. "With every other service, Alaska trusts its medical doctors to adhere to the best interests of their patients."

Medicaid paid for almost 40 percent of abortions in the state in 2011.

The lawsuit claims Alaska is violating equal protection, privacy, and health rights, and, because there was no public hearing on the regulations, procedurally the regulations are invalid. Planned Parenthood Great Northwest previously filed a lawsuit against Alaska in 2010 over a parental notification law.

Last year, a Democratic state senator asked the Alaska Legislative Affairs Agency for a legal memo on the then-proposal. The agency said the regulation would “likely be found unconstitutional,” according to Huffington Post, which cited the Anchorage NBC affiliate.

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell's press office declined to comment to LifeSiteNews on the lawsuit, saying they “typically do not comment on ongoing litigation,” but would “be happy to provide a statement once there is resolution in this matter.”

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