Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)
03/14/2018 01:30 PM JUDICIARY
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SB 124-ABORTION PROCEDURES; CHILD SURRENDER 1:41:54 PM CHAIR COGHILL announced the consideration of SB 124 and noted that public testimony was open. 1:42:47 PM KAREN LEWIS, Director, Pro-Life Alaska, MatSu, Alaska, testified in support of SB 124. She opined that it's insanity to discuss a bill that "would give babies a chance while their mother and attending abortionists are trying to kill them." She spoke against abortion and against Planned Parenthood. She said abortion is a billion-dollar industry and she looks forward to the day that Roe is overturned. 1:45:38 PM RICK SMALL, Abolitionist Society of Anchorage, Palmer, Alaska, said he was representing the Lord Jesus Christ. He argued that the Supreme Court is not God, that Roe v. Wade is not law, and that it has no jurisdiction and is of no effect in Alaska. "They were wrong in 1857 with the Dred Scott decision and they were wrong in 1973 and we need to ignore it." He suggested that if the committee was interested in true justice it would amend SB 124 to adopt the exact language of HB 250. He concluded saying, "God is real he is there, and he is neither silent nor sitting still. He is doing something, and you are either with him or you are against him." 1:49:37 PM BARBARA ANDERSON, Accountability Alliance, Seward, Alaska, put her child on phone and had a conversation about babies relative to SB 124. She summarized that her daughter was explaining that her mother had told her about abortion and she didn't think that should ever happen. Ms. Anderson told the committee that God had ordained them as authority in the state. She asked them to fear God rather than men and stop regulating murder. She urged the committee to amend SB 124 and replace it with HB 250. 1:52:42 PM JEFF LANDFIELD, representing self, Anchorage, Alaska, urged the committee to adopt policies that allow women to have access to contraception. He read the definition of abortion from the "Merriam Webster Dictionary" and said he understands what the sponsor is trying to do, but if the goal is fewer abortions the government should focus on improving access to contraception. CHAIR COGHILL noted who was available to answer questions. CHAIR COGHILL closed public testimony and solicited a motion. 1:54:47 PM SENATOR COSTELLO moved to report SB 124, version U, from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). 1:55:10 PM SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI objected. He said this bill is unusual in that it has opposition from both Alaska Right to Life and Planned Parenthood, although the reasons are different. He said he has received over 100 emails regarding the bill and at least 95 percent were opposed to the legislation. Similarly, people on both sides testified on the bill and his calculation shows that 95 percent opposed the bill. From a legal perspective, which is this committee's focus, he can't imagine that it is in any way constitutional. He said he recognizes that some people disagree, but the U.S. Supreme Court and the Alaska Supreme Court have found that abortion is constitutional. Because it is a constitutional right, it is important to look carefully on impeding on that right. The bill forces a physician who is terminating a pregnancy to use "the best opportunity for the child to survive." The committee heard there are two ways a child could survive an abortion. One is induced labor and according to the 2016 "Alaska Induced Pregnancy Statistics" that is not a form of abortion. The one form of abortion an unborn child could survive is a hysterotomy or cesarean section ("C-section"). Arguably, the bill requires every woman who has an abortion in the state of Alaska to undergo a C-section. He said that is major surgery and there is no way that the Supreme Court will say it's constitutional. The litigation will be very expensive, just as it has in past challenges. He pointed out that the youngest a fetus has survived is 21 weeks and four days, and that information in the packet from the Department of Health and Social Services says that "99.5 percent of induced terminations in Alaska were performed at 13 weeks or less gestational age." Looking at the numbers of abortions in the last five years shows that this would apply in very few instances. In most years it would be zero. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said he believes that SB 124 is unconstitutional, and it enjoys wide opposition on both sides of the abortion issue. Respectfully, it should not move forward. 1:59:32 PM SENATOR COSTELLO asked for clarification of the definition of "abandoned the child" because it seems inconsistent that the language on page 2 says abortion is not abandoning the child. CHAIR COGHILL offered his perspective that the court can find the child is abandoned and the statutory direction is that the child can be surrendered as a child in need of aid. That is the choice of the person giving birth. SENATOR COSTELLO said she understands that is the choice, but it seems that that decision was made prior to seeking the abortion. She said it's not enough to hold the bill but the way it's drafted is confusing. CHAIR COGHILL said his staff will track that and all committee members will be apprised. He opined that the opposition from Right to Life people is because the bill does not go far enough. He continued, For those of us who live in the land where the courts have made laws and we're trying to live under that law, we have to do what we can under that law. So it's incremental movement, that is true. It's trying to value a life, that is true. But it's also trying to value the choice of the woman that has been given that right. But we're also trying to value the life the best we know how as I understand it under this law. Those who oppose it think that an abortion should always result in the death of the fetus as they call it. There's just many of us that disagree with that so we're looking for every way we can - I say we because I'm going to support this bill - to give the doctor tools to say that that life could be valued and be surrendered for a chance to live even if it's under the state protection. 2:04:04 PM CHAIR COGHILL called for a roll call vote on SB 124. A roll call vote was taken. Senators Shower, Kelly, Costello, and Coghill voted in favor of moving SB 124 from committee and Senator Wielechowski voted against it. Therefore, SB 124 moved from the Senate Judiciary Standing Committee by a 4:1 vote.
|HB 208 - Amendments A.1 & A.2.pdf||
SJUD 3/14/2018 1:30:00 PM