State budget amendment eliminates Medicaid-funded elective abortions

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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) In a 7- 2 vote, The Alaska House Finance Committee approved an amendment to its current version of the operating budget effectively wiping out Medicaid funding for abortions.

Rep. Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla, said Thursday that it would put limitations on Medicaid. “It also removes the dollar amount of $334,000 that has been paid as the state portion for non-medically necessary abortion,” Tilton said.

The amendment garnered passionate discussions, with some lawmakers adding personal testimony.

“My father died several years ago and I just lost my mother and I cannot think of a better way to honor their legacy than to advocate for those babies,” said Rep. Kelly Merrick, R-Anchorage, who said she was adopted at birth.

Other lawmakers at the committee questioned what the removal would do to Alaskans who rely on funding from that particular section of Medicaid.

Rep. Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan, said that it’s not about ending abortions, but rather lessening access to abortions for people who are less advantaged. “I have to think about that. We are not going to be stopping abortions by passing this amendment. ” Rep. Dan Ortiz said Thursday.

Rep. Tammie Wilson, the co-chair of the House Finance committee, countered Ortiz’s point and said that there are other resources available. “Planned Parenthood, whether you like them or not, they make it way too easy in my opinion, but that’s their choice,” said Rep. Wilson.

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