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Thu Aug 27, 2015, 08:06 PM

Alaska judge strikes down law to limit Medicaid funds for abortions

Alaska judge strikes down law to limit Medicaid funds for abortions

JUNEAU, Alaska -- A state court judge in Alaska ruled Thursday that a law further defining what constitutes a medically necessary abortion for purposes of Medicaid funding is unconstitutional.

Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered that the state be blocked from implementing the law, passed last year, and a similar regulation, finding both violated the equal protection clause of the Alaska Constitution.

"This ruling, if upheld, means as a practical matter that virtually all indigent Alaskan women seeking abortions will receive state Medicaid funding," he wrote.

The Alaska Supreme Court has held that the state must pay for medically necessary abortions if it pays for other procedures deemed medically necessary. The regulation and law sought to further define what constitutes a "medically necessary" abortion.

Supporters of the measures have said the state should not be required to pay for elective abortions.

In his decision, Suddock said an unwanted pregnancy is a crisis for any woman and for an impoverished woman without recourse to an abortion, the crisis "may be extreme," noting that indigent women often face stressors such as homelessness, addiction or domestic violence. He wrote that the added stressor of an unwanted pregnancy with no recourse to an abortion "can create clinically significant mental distress such that a Medicaid abortion is medically necessary."

Read more: http://www.adn.com/article/20150827/alaska-judge-strikes-down-law-limit-medicaid-funds-abortions

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