Additional bill restricting Planned Parenthood in schools introduced

JUNEAU — Two Wasilla Republicans are working to limit special interest groups like Planned Parenthood from teaching in Alaska’s public schools.

Republican Rep. Lynn Gattis introduced her bill — the third of its type heard by lawmakers this session — during a House Education Committee meeting on Wednesday. She said her intent is to crack down on such groups gaining access to children.

Gattis specified during a later interview that her bill was geared specifically to affect Planned Parenthood, calling the organization the “elephant in the room.”

However, she said she would like to see other special interest groups have limited access to public school students. “I am pro-life. But even the Right to Life folks should not have carte blanche to be in our schools and provide their agenda,” Gattis said.

She said she did not broaden the language in her bill to include all special interest groups, fearing that such a measure could have unintended consequences.

Gattis’ bill is a companion to one Republican Sen. Mike Dunleavy has been working to get passed.

The bills include penalties for those who violate the measure. A teacher who knowingly uses banned curriculum or invites a Planned Parenthood representative into the classroom could be fired; a doctor who violates the provisions could face sanctions from the State Medical Board; and abortion services providers could be liable for civil penalties and damages.

Education committee chair Rep. Wes Keller, R-Wasilla, asked Gattis to rewrite her bill to include language amendments made to Dunleavy’s bill in the Senate. Those amendments include language clarifying that in order to run afoul of the law a representative or employee of Planned Parenthood must be teaching on a health topic including human sexuality or family planning.

Another similar bill from Dunleavy, SB 89, passed the Senate and advanced from Keller’s committee in the House. House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, also referred it to the House Health and Social Services Committee, which will hear Dunleavy’s bill on Thursday.

It is substantively similar to Gattis’ bill in that it would also prohibit schools from contracting with abortion services providers. Both contain a prohibition against district employees or volunteers using curriculum provided by abortion services providers. Additionally, the legislation, SB 89, mandates that parents be able to withdraw their children from any school activity to which they object.

Gattis said that at some point her bill and one of Dunleavy’s bills would likely be combined. “At this late date, it’s about the only way that this could get through,” she said.

More in News

Sockeye salmon are gathered together at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Dipnets for commercial setnet fishers given emergency approval by CFEC

Up to three 12-hour periods of commercial dipnetting “may” be allowed each week from June 20 to July 31

Council member Dave Carey speaks during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna explores increases to its water and sewer expansion fees

The fees are a single charge to people who are newly or differently demanding or utilizing the services of the city’s water and sewer system

Vice President Tyson Cox speaks during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly to discuss short-term rental tax on Tuesday

The resolution describes a proposed tax of up to 12%

Photo provided by Special Olympics Alaska Central Peninsula
The Special Olympics Alaska Central Peninsula team stands together for a photo during the Summer State Games in Anchorage.
Area athletes claim 45 medals at Special Olympics Alaska Summer Games

The Central Peninsula team fielded 17 local athletes in the competition

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks in support of debating an omnibus education bill in the Alaska House Chambers on Monday, Feb. 19 in Juneau.
Ruffridge talks successes, unfinished business after freshman session in Juneau

Ruffridge is up for election this year, facing a challenger in former-Rep. Ron Gillham

tease
Homer, Seldovia to celebrate summer solstice

Events will be held starting June 20

A freshly stocked rainbow trout swims in Johnson Lake during Salmon Celebration on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, at Johnson Lake in Kasilof, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Slow sockeye fishing at Russian River, good rainbow trout at Kenai Lake

A Northern Kenai Fishing Report published by the State Department of Fish… Continue reading

Council member James Baisden speaks in favor of an amendment to the City of Kenai’s budget that would add funds for construction of a veteran’s memorial column in the Kenai Cemetery during a meeting of the Kenai City Council in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai budget amendment allocates funds for veterans’ columbarium in cemetery expansion

A columbarium is an aboveground structure that houses cremated remains

Council member Alex Douthit speaks in favor of an amendment to the CIty of Kenai’s budget that would reduce funds allocated to the Storefront and Streetscape Improvement Program during a meeting of the Kenai City Council in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Funding reduced for City of Kenai’s storefront improvement grant program

Just over a year after the City of Kenai established its Storefront… Continue reading

Most Read