A Republican state senator is defending proposed regulations that would define what constitutes a "medically necessary" abortion for purposes of Medicaid funding.
Sen. Mike Dunleavy of Wasilla says the proposal has nothing to do with the legality of abortion. He says Alaskans have a right to decide how their tax dollars are spent.
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 memo from a legislative attorney has raised constitutional concerns with the proposal. Several Democratic state senators have called on Alaska's health commissioner to withdraw it.
Public comment is being taken until Sept. 27.