Board, prompted by suit, proposes new abortion rules

  • By Becky Bohrer
  • Tuesday, February 21, 2017 10:12pm
  • News

JUNEAU — The Alaska State Medical Board has proposed new regulations prompted by a lawsuit from abortion-rights advocates who argue that existing rules restrict second-trimester abortions.

The proposals, among other things, would repeal a requirement that a physician consult with another doctor before performing an abortion after the 12th week of gestation.

They also state that from the point a fetus is considered viable, an abortion can only be done at a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit. That would replace an existing rule requiring that blood and an operating room staffed and equipped for major surgery must be immediately available for abortions performed during the second or third trimesters.

The board realized through the lawsuit that some existing rules were more than 30 years old and perhaps due for review, board executive administrator Debora Stovern said Tuesday.

The proposed changes, currently out for public comment, are aimed at modernizing the rules, she said.

“The intent is public safety and having appropriate regulations to that end,” she said.

The lawsuit, brought by Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands, is on hold pending final action by the board on its rules.

Katie Rogers, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, said by email that her organization is reviewing the proposed changes and likely will submit comments. She said the group won’t make final decisions about the case until any rules changes are final.

Planned Parenthood, in its lawsuit, states that while some women seek second-trimester abortions in Alaska, the organization does not provide them in the state due to restrictions that it argues are unconstitutional.

The lawsuit says the consultation provisions and rules requiring the availability of blood and an operating room for major surgery are unnecessary.

It also cites a decades-old state legal opinion finding the state health department is responsible for approving facilities where abortions are performed beyond the first trimester. That issue is separate from the State Medical Board’s actions.

More in News

Soldotna High School senior Josiah Burton testifies in opposition to the proposed cut of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District theater technicians while audience members look on during a board of education meeting on Monday, March 6, 2023 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
School board finance group reviews expenditures ahead of upcoming budget cycle

As the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District prepares to grapple with another… Continue reading

Members of the Kenai/Soldotna Fish and Game Advisory Committee raise hands to vote in favor of a proposal during a meeting at Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Silver salmon, personal use fishing discussed by advisory committee

The group set their recommendations on a variety of proposals to the State Board of Fisheries

Hoses pump water along Patrick Drive to help mitigate flooding near Kalifornsky Beach Road on Friday, July 21, 2023, near Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough spent almost $78k responding to flood events during disaster declaration

Most of the funds were spend in the northwest area of Kalifornsky Beach Road

The National Weather Service’s map shows a winter weather advisory, in orange, effective for much of the eastern Kenai Peninsula. (Screenshot)
Heavy snow, blowing winds forecast for Turnagain Pass on Wednesday

Snow accumulations of up to 16 inches are expected

The Kenai Courthouse is seen on Monday, July 3, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Grand jury adds charges in October killing of Homer woman

The indictment was delivered on Nov. 8

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Anchorage resident arrested in Nikiski after troopers investigate reports of stolen vehicle

Troopers responded to a residential address in Nikiski around 11:30 a.m. after being notified by Sirius XM that a stolen vehicle was there

Santa Claus greets Hudson Reinhardt during Christmas Comes to Kenai festivities at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Getting into the holiday spirit

Christmas arrives in Kenai with fireworks, Santa and a lot of rain

Kinley Ferguson tells Santa Claus what she wants for Christmas during Christmas in the Park festivities on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Creating a winter wonderland

Christmas in the Park to bring Santa, sleigh rides, fireworks on Saturday

Flowers bloom at Soldotna City Hall on Wednesday, June 24, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna to repair failed wastewater pipe

The pipe to be repaired discharges treated effluent into the Kenai River

Most Read