Legislature(2007 - 2008)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/17/2008 01:30 PM FINANCE

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Meeting Delayed to 2:00 pm Today --
Moved CSHB 236(MLV) Out of Committee
<Bill Held Over to 3/18/08>
Moved CSHB 406(STA) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 364(FIN) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 348(FIN) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 417(FIN) Out of Committee
HOUSE BILL NO. 364                                                                                                            
     An  Act relating  to notice  and consent  for a  minor's                                                                   
     abortion;  relating  to   penalties  for  performing  an                                                                   
     abortion;  relating to a  judicial bypass procedure  for                                                                   
     an abortion; relating to  coercion of a minor to have an                                                                   
     abortion; relating  to reporting of  abortions performed                                                                   
     on minors;  amending Rule  24(a), Alaska Rules  of Civil                                                                   
     Procedure, amending Rule  220, Alaska Rules of Appellate                                                                   
     Procedure, and  Rule 20, Alaska Probate  Rules, relating                                                                   
     to judicial  bypass for an  abortion; and  providing for                                                                   
     an effective date.                                                                                                         
2:47:56 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer reviewed the history  of HB 364 in the Finance                                                                   
Co-Chair Meyer MOVED to ADOPT Amendment #1 (Copy on File):                                                                      
     Page 6, line 7: After "without", Insert "Notice to                                                                         
Representative Hawker OBJECTED for discussion.                                                                                  
SUZANNE  ARMSTRONG,  STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE  CO-CHAIR  MEYER,                                                                   
explained  the Amendment  as a  technical clean-up  amendment                                                                   
that  inserts  language  to  make the  version  of  the  bill                                                                   
consistent with other draftings.                                                                                                
Representative Hawker WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                   
Vice-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED for discussion.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN  COGHILL, Sponsor, testified  that he had                                                                   
no objection to the Amendment.                                                                                                  
Vice-Chair  Stoltze removed  his  OBJECTION.  There being  NO                                                                   
further OBJECTION, Amendment #1 was adopted.                                                                                    
Representative  Gara   MOVED  to  ADOPT  Amendment   #2  (25-                                                                   
LS1406\E.1, Mischel, 3/12/08, Copy on File):                                                                                    
        Page 2, line 29: Delete "medical instability                                                                          
     caused by a"                                                                                                             
Vice-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                                                    
2:50:08 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara  turned to page  2, line 29 of  the bill.                                                                   
He explained that the previous  consent law stipulates that a                                                                   
person  does not have  to wait  and get  parental notice  and                                                                   
consent if  the delay  in the abortion  will cause  the minor                                                                   
"substantial  and irreversible impairment  of a major  bodily                                                                   
function." He  thought the  rule seemed reasonable.  However,                                                                   
HB 364 adds  another condition that the abortion  can only be                                                                   
performed  if  the delay  will  cause  "medical  instability"                                                                   
caused  by an  irreversible impairment.  Representative  Gara                                                                   
objected  to the additional  language  and wanted it  removed                                                                   
through the Amendment.                                                                                                          
Representative Coghill objected  to the Amendment. He pointed                                                                   
out that the language "medical  instability" is commonly used                                                                   
in  medical emergencies.  He defines  abortion  as a  medical                                                                   
emergency. The  medical emergency is being determined  by the                                                                   
doctor. He thought "medical stability" should be a factor.                                                                      
Representative  Gara answered that  not allowing  an abortion                                                                   
could cause  lasting and  substantial injury  to a  woman. He                                                                   
thought  the current standard  was good  enough. An  abortion                                                                   
should be allowed  if prevention of the abortion  would cause                                                                   
a woman  substantial  and irreversible  injury. The  question                                                                   
becomes whether  the additional language addresses  this kind                                                                   
of injury.                                                                                                                      
Representative  Coghill answered that  the fact that  a delay                                                                   
could cause  a medical instability is  appropriate especially                                                                   
when  we rely  on the  good faith  clinical  judgment of  the                                                                   
Representative  Gara  did  not like  adopting  medical  terms                                                                   
without knowing  what they mean. He wanted  medical testimony                                                                   
to show  which injuries  the bill  allows to  be caused  to a                                                                   
woman and which injuries are not.                                                                                               
2:54:11 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Coghill  said  the same  amendment  had  come                                                                   
before another committee. There  was legal testimony but none                                                                   
from  a doctor.  He  clarified that  the  sponsors intend  to                                                                   
define,  for the  purposes  of this  particular  law, what  a                                                                   
medical emergency is. He had not  intended to line up medical                                                                   
testimony, although  he could.  Co-Chair Meyer did  not think                                                                   
additional testimony was necessary.                                                                                             
Vice-Chair Stoltze MAINTAINED his OBJECTION.                                                                                    
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
IN FAVOR: Gara, Joule, Nelson                                                                                                   
OPPOSED: Harris, Hawker, Kelly, Stoltze, Thomas, Meyer                                                                          
Absent from the vote: Crawford, Chenault                                                                                        
The MOTION FAILED (3/6).                                                                                                        
2:56:23 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara   MOVED  to  ADOPT  Amendment   #3  (25-                                                                   
LS1406\E.2, Mischel, 3/12/08, Copy on File):                                                                                    
     Page 3, line 6: Delete "not less than 48 hours"                                                                            
Vice-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara turned to  page 3, line  6 of  the bill.                                                                   
The  way the  bill is  written, if  a young  woman gives  the                                                                   
parents  notice   and  gets  parental  consent   to  have  an                                                                   
abortion, she still cannot have an abortion without a 48-                                                                       
hour wait. He thought it was not  appropriate to have to wait                                                                   
48 hours. There  is no other major medical  procedure where a                                                                   
mandatory  wait applies.  He  referred  to earlier  testimony                                                                   
that it sometimes takes up to  ten weeks for a young woman to                                                                   
find out  she is  pregnant. By  then the  first trimester  is                                                                   
nearly over, and there is no place  to get a second-trimester                                                                   
abortion in Alaska. He described  a scenario of a young woman                                                                   
trying to make the decisions who  has to go to the court, the                                                                   
doctor's office  and so on. Even  after all that, she  has to                                                                   
wait another  48 hours. This tells  women who have  the legal                                                                   
right to have an  abortion that they are not  allowed to have                                                                   
one because  of a deadline. He  asserted that the  bill would                                                                   
be deemed unconstitutional and that it was not right.                                                                           
Representative  Coghill  spoke   against  the  Amendment.  He                                                                   
thought two days'  notification to the minor's  custodian was                                                                   
reasonable.  He wanted to  have notice in  case a  person was                                                                   
trying  to manipulate  the system.  If the  words were  taken                                                                   
out, the bill  would say "notice before the  abortion," which                                                                   
could be  minutes. For other  medical procedures  there would                                                                   
be a  variety of  different times  either for preparation  or                                                                   
for time  to get  to or  from the  appointment. He  described                                                                   
surgeries that he had to wait 72 hours for.                                                                                     
Representative Gara  maintained that there is  no similar law                                                                   
for men.  House Bill  364 will  tell a  woman that,  unlike a                                                                   
man, after  a certain day, she  cannot have the  surgery. Men                                                                   
have the  luxury of waiting a  few extra days that  women who                                                                   
are seeking  an abortion do not  have. In addition,  the bill                                                                   
requires consent.  If she has the consent of  the parent, she                                                                   
should not have to wait another 48 hours.                                                                                       
Representative  Coghill did not  know of  any other  place in                                                                   
society  that jurisprudence  has  been so  highly focused  as                                                                   
abortion  and   parental  consent.  With  regards   to  other                                                                   
procedures, few have been litigated  to the same degree. Some                                                                   
value individual freedom highly,  and others value the unborn                                                                   
child highly.  Those two values  are in tension.  He believed                                                                   
there should  be reasonable notification. He  thought doctors                                                                   
would require at least two days of preparatory work anyway.                                                                     
3:02:38 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kelly  asked if  Representative  Coghill  had                                                                   
started  with  a higher  number  of hours  for  notification.                                                                   
Representative  Coghill relied  that he  had started  with 72                                                                   
hours; after  visiting abortion  clinics he became  convinced                                                                   
that two  days was  adequate. Representative  Kelly  spoke to                                                                   
the risk of terminating a human  being and thought a 48 hours                                                                   
wait was reasonable.  He would like the waiting  period to be                                                                   
Representative  Gara  queried  if there  were  any  procedure                                                                   
where  a  man is  required  to  wait  48 hours  after  giving                                                                   
consent. Representative Coghill replied not by law.                                                                             
3:04:22 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara asserted that  he had an equal protection                                                                   
issue with the bill if men are  not required to wait 48 hours                                                                   
before having any kind of surgery.                                                                                              
Representative  Coghill  did not  know of  any  male who  had                                                                   
gotten an  abortion. He felt men  had been excluded  from the                                                                   
choice of  abortion. The  equal protection  issue for  him is                                                                   
with the father of the unborn child.                                                                                            
Representative  Gara thought the  48-hour issue  would divide                                                                   
people into people  who were against abortion  and people who                                                                   
were for the  choice to have an abortion. The  48-hour notice                                                                   
is  not medically  justified.  It divides  people. He  argued                                                                   
that the  real purpose of the  48-hour waiting period  was to                                                                   
decrease  the  chances of  a  woman  having a  valid,  legal,                                                                   
first-trimester abortion.  There is no other area  of the law                                                                   
where this  happens. That  makes this  bill not really  about                                                                   
parental consent,  but parental  consent plus taking  another                                                                   
shot at trying to prevent someone from getting an abortion.                                                                     
3:07:08 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Coghill replied  that the  provision was  not                                                                   
meant to  be prohibitive, but  to respect the  parental right                                                                   
to  be involved  in  the decision.  He  stated  that men  are                                                                   
parents as well as women.                                                                                                       
Representative  Kelly  speculated  that  a  having  vasectomy                                                                   
requires a  cooling off period.  During that period  a person                                                                   
might  get counseling  in  order  to carefully  think  things                                                                   
through.  He felt  since  the decision  to  have an  abortion                                                                   
involved  human  life,  the waiting  period  should  be  much                                                                   
longer.  He referred  to  testimony that  abortion  providers                                                                   
make sure there is counseling  so the person has to face what                                                                   
an abortion is.                                                                                                                 
Vice-Chair Stoltze MAINTAINED his OBJECTION.                                                                                    
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
IN FAVOR: Gara, Joule, Nelson                                                                                                   
OPPOSED: Hawker, Kelly, Stoltz, Thomas, Harris                                                                                  
Absent for the vote: Chenault, Crawford                                                                                         
The MOTION FAILED (3/6).                                                                                                        
Representative  Gara   MOVED  to  ADOPT  Amendment   #4  (25-                                                                   
LS1406\E.3, Mischel, 3/13/08, Copy on File):                                                                                    
    Page 3, line 15, following  "victim": Insert "or has                                                                        
    a reasonable  fear  of becoming a  victim"; Page  3,                                                                        
    line 18,  following "by": Insert "the  minor."; Page                                                                        
    3, lines 19-28: Delete all material.                                                                                        
Vice-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                                                    
3:10:09 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara described  the Amendment as an attempt to                                                                   
address one of  his major objections to the  bill. He thought                                                                   
it  was one  thing telling  a minor  with supportive  parents                                                                   
that she needs to talk to them  before having an abortion. It                                                                   
was another  thing to tell a  minor who has been  sexually or                                                                   
physically abused  that she has  to tell the parent  that she                                                                   
is  pregnant and  get  permission to  have  an abortion.  The                                                                   
Amendment  says  that  if  a minor  has  reasonable  fear  of                                                                   
physical or sexual abuse, or if  they have been physically or                                                                   
sexually abused in  the past by a parent, they  simply do not                                                                   
have  to  get  parental  consent.  The  way  the  bill  reads                                                                   
currently, the child has to get  an affidavit where the child                                                                   
says she will be  abused, and then she has to  get a witness.                                                                   
Representative Gara  was concerned that the  witness would go                                                                   
to the  parent and  inform the  parent that  the daughter  is                                                                   
about  to get  an abortion.  If  the girl  goes  to a  family                                                                   
member,  the family  member  may inform  the  parent. If  she                                                                   
turns to a law enforcement officer,  that officer might go to                                                                   
the parent.                                                                                                                     
Representative  Gara explained  that his  provision makes  it                                                                   
sufficient  for  the  child  to   sign  an  affidavit,  under                                                                   
penalties of  perjury, and  give it to  the doctor.  A parent                                                                   
who has  abused a child has  lost the right to  regulate that                                                                   
child's life.                                                                                                                   
Representative  Coghill  agreed that  when  a  young girl  is                                                                   
abused, she  is afraid; pregnancy  intensifies that  fear. He                                                                   
explained the  section as the  third condition under  which a                                                                   
doctor may  perform an abortion  for a minor. The  others are                                                                   
parental consent  and emancipation.  If the child  is abused,                                                                   
she is not required  to go to court. The doctor  can make the                                                                   
decision, but Representative Coghill  did not want the doctor                                                                   
to be able  to do that. He  thought it would be wise  to have                                                                   
an  authority  figure  involved.  He  acknowledged  that  the                                                                   
abusive  parent could  find  out because  of  that. He  would                                                                   
rather have law  enforcement, health and social  services, or                                                                   
a safe  family member  involved. He does  not want  to delete                                                                   
the material  and leave the  decision between the  doctor and                                                                   
the minor  child because  of doctors who  could fall  prey to                                                                   
the motive of making money off the abortion.                                                                                    
3:16:26 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara  did not think there were  doctors making                                                                   
a profit  providing abortions.  He clarified  that under  the                                                                   
Amendment, the decision  is not only between  the young woman                                                                   
and her doctor.  The young woman is also required  to sign an                                                                   
affidavit or she could go to jail  for lying. He thought that                                                                   
was sufficient protection.                                                                                                      
Vice-Chair Stoltze MAINTAINED his OBJECTION.                                                                                    
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
IN FAVOR: Joule, Nelson, Gara                                                                                                   
OPPOSED: Hawker, Kelly, Stoltze, Thomas, Harris, Meyer                                                                          
Absent from the Vote: Crawford, Chenault                                                                                        
The MOTION FAILED (3/6).                                                                                                        
3:18:46 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara   MOVED  to  ADOPT  Amendment   #5  (25-                                                                   
LS1406\E.4, Mischel 3/12/08, Copy on File):                                                                                     
     Page 7, line 25, following "abortion": Insert "or                                                                          
        to bear a child"; Page 7, line 28, following                                                                            
     "abortion": Insert "or to bear a child"                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                                                    
Representative Gara  turned to page 7, line 24  which he felt                                                                   
creates  a new crime:  coercing  a minor who  is pregnant  to                                                                   
have an abortion. He thought it  should be a crime to coerce,                                                                   
defined in  the bill as "to  restrain or dominate a  minor by                                                                   
force," a minor to have an abortion,  but it should also be a                                                                   
crime to restrain  or dominate a minor by force  to make them                                                                   
bear a  child. He  thought coercing  a child  would be  wrong                                                                   
regardless of the stance towards abortion.                                                                                      
Representative  Coghill  turned to  section  1  of the  bill,                                                                   
subsection (a),  which lists the  exceptions to  "an abortion                                                                   
may not be performed in this state."  He pointed out that the                                                                   
topic at  hand is whether parents  should be involved  in the                                                                   
consent  for an  abortion. The  topic is  abortion. He  spoke                                                                   
against the Amendment,  not because he thinks  a child should                                                                   
be coerced  to have a  child, but because  it would  create a                                                                   
precedence in law that concerns him.                                                                                            
3:21:56 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara  thought the bill as written  would cause                                                                   
legal problems. He  thought it made it all  right to threaten                                                                   
a child if she doesn't agree to  have a baby. The bill treats                                                                   
people different depending on  what side of the pro-life/pro-                                                                   
choice issue they are on.                                                                                                       
Representative Gara WITHDREW Amendment #5.                                                                                      
Co-Chair Meyer referred to fiscal notes.                                                                                        
AT EASE:       3:24:24 PM                                                                                                     
RECONVENE:     3:26:10 PM                                                                                                     
Vice-Chair Stoltze  MOVED to REPORT  HB 364 out  of Committee                                                                   
with  individual  recommendations  and attached  zero  fiscal                                                                   
note #1 by the Department of Health  and Social Services, new                                                                   
zero fiscal  note by  the Department  of Administration,  new                                                                   
indeterminate fiscal  note by the Department of  Law, and new                                                                   
zero fiscal note by the Alaska Court System.                                                                                    
Representative Gara OBJECTED for discussion.                                                                                    
3:26:57 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara referred to  a memo from  the Department                                                                   
of Law  concluding that  HB 364  is likely  unconstitutional.                                                                   
The bill is  probably more restrictive than the  one that was                                                                   
already deemed  unconstitutional. He thought the  zero fiscal                                                                   
note  from the  Department  of Law  curious,  since the  last                                                                   
litigation cost over  $1 million. He thought  the fiscal note                                                                   
should  reflect  the  cost  of  a  probable  fight  over  the                                                                   
constitutionality  of the  bill.  He pointed  out that  there                                                                   
should  also be a  fiscal note  from the  Public Defender  or                                                                   
Office  of  Public   Advocacy,  since  they   would  have  to                                                                   
represent   women  connected   with   the  judicial   by-pass                                                                   
proceeding. The Department of  Law should have another fiscal                                                                   
note over  the costs of defending  the other side of  the by-                                                                   
pass issue.                                                                                                                     
Representative Gara WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                     
Representative Kelly OBJECTED for discussion.                                                                                   
Representative   Kelly  referred   to  the   memo  from   the                                                                   
Department of  Law. He interpreted  the memo as  stating that                                                                   
notification would likely survive,  and the outcome regarding                                                                   
the constitutionality  of required consent would  be dubious.                                                                   
The  memo goes  on to  state that  the recent  change in  the                                                                   
composition of the  court could have a bearing  on the issues                                                                   
(Copy on File).                                                                                                                 
3:29:27 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Kelly REMOVED his OBJECTION.                                                                                     
Representative Gara OBJECTED.                                                                                                   
Representative  Gara reiterated that  whatever the  result of                                                                   
litigation, it would  cost a lot of money.  He maintained the                                                                   
Committee should have true fiscal  notes from departments and                                                                   
that the current fiscal notes were not true.                                                                                    
Representative Gara REMOVED his OBJECTION.                                                                                      
CS  HB  364   (FIN)  was  REPORTED  out  of   Committee  with                                                                   
individual recommendations  and attached zero fiscal  note #1                                                                   
by the  Department of  Health and  Social Services,  new zero                                                                   
fiscal  note   by  the  Department  of   Administration,  new                                                                   
indeterminate fiscal  note by the Department of  Law, and new                                                                   
zero fiscal note by the Alaska Court System.                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects