Gov. Sean Parnell signed Senate Bill 49 into law on Thursday, legislation that defines what constitutes a "medically necessary" abortion for purposes of state Medicaid coverage of their costs.
Planned Parenthood says the law is nearly identical to the administrative rule that was passed earlier this year, which requires doctors to check mark the conditions which deem an abortion as "medically necessary."
Jessica Cler, Alaska public affairs manager for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, says the law is a sign that the governor is getting between a woman and her doctor.
"By stripping the Medicaid women's health program from this bill earlier this session, Governor Parnell and the legislators showed their true interests is restricting pregnancy decisions for low income women and not promoting women's health," Cler said.
Jim Minnery, the president of Alaska Family Action, says the legislation reduces Medicaid fraud.
"In our view, there's massive Medicaid fraud that's happening right now in that a lot of abortionists have been submitting for Medicaid payments on elective procedures," Minnery said.
Under the new law, Medicaid payments can only be used for abortions if: the pregnancy is the result of incest or rape; to avoid a threat of serious risk to the life or physical health of a woman;, or to prevent death or impairment to a major bodily function.
Planned Parenthood says the rules are too restrictive for low-income women.
"If the governor and the legislature were truly concerned about reducing the number of abortions, they would focus their efforts on increasing access to birth control," Cler said.
Alaska Family Action says the conditions will hold people seeking an abortion to the law.
"If you want that procedure, then you need to go someplace else to get that payment," Minnery said. "If you're going to ask the state of Alaska tax payers to use Medicaid to pay for it, then it has to be medically necessary."
While the conditions go into effect 90 days from Thursday, Planned Parenthood says the fight isn't over and it will likely challenge the law in court.