Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/14/2018 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved SB 124 Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
          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                                                               
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.                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 208 - Amendments A.1 & A.2.pdf SJUD 3/14/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 208