Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/12/2018 01:30 PM Senate JUDICIARY

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
          SB 124-ABORTION PROCEDURES; CHILD SURRENDER                                                                       
1:51:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL announced  the consideration  of SB  124, "An  Act                                                               
relating  to   the  duties  of   physicians  and     health  care                                                               
practitioners  when performing  or inducing  abortions; providing                                                               
that a child removed from a  pregnant woman's womb alive after an                                                               
abortion may  be surrendered and found  to be a child  in need of                                                               
aid; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                      
He opened public testimony on SB 124.                                                                                           
1:53:07 PM                                                                                                                    
AARON  SPRATT, representing  self, Juneau,  Alaska, testified  in                                                               
support of  SB 124. He comes  from a faith tradition  that values                                                               
life from  the beginning  to the  end and he  comes from  a faith                                                               
tradition  that  serves  his  neighbor,  particularly  when  that                                                               
neighbor can't  defend himself or  his personal  rights. Abortion                                                               
is the  taking of a  life and life begins  in the womb.  He prays                                                               
for the women  who have been victims of  abortion. He understands                                                               
there  may be  reasons a  woman might  not want  to go  through a                                                               
pregnancy  and he  doesn't deny  that the  woman has  a right  to                                                               
bodily integrity. He does oppose and  deny that the woman has the                                                               
right to force her  will on her child by killing  it. Life in the                                                               
womb  has the  right  of existence  because it  is  a live  human                                                               
being.  All  life  deserves  honor   and  respect  and  certainly                                                               
protection. He  asked the  committee to protect  the babies  in a                                                               
mother's womb.                                                                                                                  
1:55:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KELLY joined the committee.                                                                                             
1:56:28 PM                                                                                                                    
DONNA MEINERS,  representing self,  Juneau, Alaska,  testified in                                                               
opposition to  SB 124. She  has worked as  a nurse in  Alaska for                                                               
over  30  years and  has  supervised  over  50 staff  nurses  and                                                               
managed a multimillion  dollar budget in a  health care facility.                                                               
SB 124  does not address  any pressing health and  social service                                                               
needs of  a majority of  Alaskans. Survey data  collected through                                                               
an  initiative  by  DHSS  and the  Alaska  Native  Tribal  Health                                                               
Consortium reports the top five  health concerns of Alaskans are:                                                               
1) alcohol use; 2) the cost  of health care; 3) diet and exercise                                                               
and  obesity; 4)  substance  abuse; and  5)  violence. She  asked                                                               
where  the  legislation is  in  addressing  these needs.  SB  124                                                               
requires an increased  burden of care to providers  caught in the                                                               
middle of  politics while they  are struggling to meet  the needs                                                               
of  Alaskan women,  couples, and  families. The  bill is  a clear                                                               
effort to  chip away  at reproductive  rights and  is sure  to be                                                               
challenged in  court. SB 124 does  not address the real  needs of                                                               
Alaskans and will lead to a budget drain to defend it.                                                                          
1:59:00 PM                                                                                                                    
PATRICK MARTIN, Alaska Right to  Life, testified in opposition to                                                               
124. They oppose  the bill for two specific  reasons. First, they                                                               
believe  it is  never okay  to  kill an  innocent pre-born  baby.                                                               
Second, they don't  believe anyone should ever  vote to authorize                                                               
an abortionist  to kill  innocent pre-born  babies. He  posed the                                                               
question  of when  does life  begin. He  opined that  biology and                                                               
embryology  makes it  clear that  life begins  at conception.  He                                                               
said human  rights also  begin at  conception. SB  124 authorizes                                                               
abortionists  to kill  children in  the womb  by authorizing  the                                                               
abortionist   to  subjectively   determine  viability   and  then                                                               
amending the abortion  procedure accordingly. If the  baby in the                                                               
womb is  not viable  he may proceed  with the  abortion procedure                                                               
that most effectively kills the child.                                                                                          
Under the  rulings in Roe v.  Wade and Doe v.  Bolton, the health                                                               
of  the mother  criteria is  broadly defined  and could  allow an                                                               
abortionist to proceed  to kill the child in the  womb during all                                                               
nine months of  pregnancy. Alaska Right to Life  does not believe                                                               
that SB 124  will block access to a single  abortion. If it does,                                                               
it has the potential of forcing the abortionist to induce a pre-                                                                
term birth on an otherwise  healthy mother and baby, placing both                                                               
at risk. He  urged the committee to hold SB  124 in committee and                                                               
asked  the sponsor  to withdraw  the bill.  Instead, introduce  a                                                               
bill that opposes abortion in all  forms, for all reasons, at all                                                               
stages and ages.                                                                                                                
2:04:22 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL PANKIN,  representing self, Anchorage,  Alaska, testified                                                               
in support of  SB 124. His reading  of the bill is  that it would                                                               
be protecting  botched abortions -  children who were  slated for                                                               
abortion,  the abortion  was attempted,  and the  child was  born                                                               
alive. He  paraphrased the  preamble to  the Constitution  of the                                                               
State of Alaska to augment the argument that SB 124 should pass.                                                                
2:06:21 PM                                                                                                                    
BARBARA   ANDERSEN,  Accountability   Alliance  Alaska,   Seward,                                                               
Alaska, testified in  opposition to SB 124. The  bill was brought                                                               
forth in a world of hypocrisy  where truth is slandered and facts                                                               
disregarded.  It is  contradictory  and insidious  in nature.  It                                                               
disregards the fact  that a human being is at  stake in the hands                                                               
of men who  should be protecting all people. She  cited Romans I:                                                               
18-21  and  reminded the  committee  that  HB  250, the  Life  at                                                               
Conception  Act,  protects  the  life of  a  child  and  properly                                                               
defines abortion as murder. That  bill has been purposely ignored                                                               
by two legislators  who introduced their own  bills which results                                                               
in the  scriptures conclusive definition:  "Claiming to  be wise,                                                               
they became  fools." She urged  the committee  to gut SB  124 and                                                               
replace it with the language from HB 250.                                                                                       
2:09:42 PM                                                                                                                    
ALYSON  CURREY, Legislative  Liaison,  Planned Parenthood  Votes,                                                               
Juneau,  Alaska,  testified  in  opposition to  SB  124.  Planned                                                               
Parenthood   provides   quality,  compassionate,   evidence-based                                                               
health care, including abortion  services. Their providers follow                                                               
rigorous standards and guidelines  using the most current medical                                                               
evidence  available,  including  guidance from  the  Centers  for                                                               
Disease Control,  the U.S. Preventative Services  Task Force, and                                                               
the  American College  of  Obstetricians  and Gynecologists.  The                                                               
bill   would  restrict   doctors'  ability   to  exercise   their                                                               
professional  expertise about  what is  best for  their patients.                                                               
Nearly  99 percent  of abortions  take place  prior to  21 weeks,                                                               
before fetal viability.  For the few later  abortions that occur,                                                               
the  bill  would force  physicians  to  alter how  they  practice                                                               
medicine  to comply  with ideological  restrictions that  are not                                                               
grounded in  science to prioritize  the health of the  fetus over                                                               
the  health  of  the  woman.   This  is  an  unfounded  precedent                                                               
motivated by politics. Later term  abortions are performed almost                                                               
exclusively in cases of serious  fetal abnormalities. The bill is                                                               
a  cruel  restriction  for  women  and  families  already  facing                                                               
difficult circumstances.                                                                                                        
SB 124 raises  serious legal and constitutional  concerns that is                                                               
outlined  in the  written testimony  submitted to  the committee.                                                               
Similar language  in the bill  has been  struck down by  the U.S.                                                               
Supreme Court  as impermissibly vague leaving  physicians unclear                                                               
as to  their legal responsibilities.  Women deserve  high quality                                                               
and medically  sound health care.  Leading medical  groups oppose                                                               
attempts to  interfere with  the doctor-patient  relationship and                                                               
disregard for their patients' safety.  SB 124 is not well written                                                               
and would  be difficult  for providers to  comply. She  urged the                                                               
committee to oppose SB 124.                                                                                                     
CHAIR COGHILL cautioned testifiers not  to assign a motive to the                                                               
2:13:04 PM                                                                                                                    
ANNA THOMPSON,  representing self, Petersburg,  Alaska, testified                                                               
in opposition  to SB 124.  The decision to terminate  a pregnancy                                                               
should be between a woman,  her family, and her physician. Health                                                               
care provider  , not  politicians, are  equipped to  make medical                                                               
decisions  about their  patients.  She agreed  with Ms.  Currey's                                                               
testimony.  The   vague  language  in   SB  124  would   make  it                                                               
challenging for physicians to comply  and avoid liability. Alaska                                                               
should  be  working  to  ensure  high-quality  medical  care  for                                                               
pregnant  women,   not  forcing  physicians  to   consider  legal                                                               
penalties before helping  a patient. The latter  is dangerous and                                                               
misguided. She encouraged the members to vote against SB 124.                                                                   
2:14:44 PM                                                                                                                    
JULIA CAULFIELD, representing self,  Juneau, Alaska, testified in                                                               
opposition to  SB 124.  She believes  a woman's  choice to  end a                                                               
pregnancy   should  be   between  herself   and  her   physician.                                                               
Politicians should  not be involved.  SB 124  jeopardizes women's                                                               
health when they  are already making a difficult  decision to end                                                               
a pregnancy. If  the woman seeks an abortion  later in pregnancy,                                                               
the  bill forces  a  physician to  put the  health  of the  fetus                                                               
first.  This is  unsafe and  medically unfounded.  Physicians are                                                               
experts  in  their  field  and  should be  able  to  treat  their                                                               
patients  on an  individual  basis. SB  124  is unreasonable  and                                                               
unworkable for physicians and  simultaneously prevents women from                                                               
getting the care  they need. It is bad for  Alaskan women and bad                                                               
for doctors.                                                                                                                    
2:16:14 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBIN SMITH,  representing self, Anchorage, Alaska,  testified in                                                               
opposition to  SB 124. Most  women who have later  term abortions                                                               
are  doing so  because  the pregnancy  has  gone terribly  wrong.                                                               
These  difficult decisions  don't  need government  interference.                                                               
Young  adolescents  also  have later  term  abortions.  They  are                                                               
likely  to deny  the pregnancy  out of  fear of  the response  of                                                               
their parents  or the shame of  seeking an abortion. It  is often                                                               
difficult for these  teens to move forward and get  the help they                                                               
need. There is also the problem  of the lack of abortion services                                                               
in  Alaska.  Just  four  communities in  the  state  offer  these                                                               
services. Not  only is there the  cost of the abortion,  but also                                                               
the cost  of travel. This  is extremely difficult for  someone in                                                               
the  villages  to maneuver.  Finally,  a  woman's right  must  be                                                               
paramount. The bill is not  a priority and the legislature should                                                               
focus on the fiscal crisis in Alaska.                                                                                           
2:19:11 PM                                                                                                                    
ZHENIA  C.   PETERSON,  representing  self,   Anchorage,  Alaska,                                                               
testified  in opposition  to  SB  124. The  decision  to have  an                                                               
abortion should be  between a woman and her doctor.  In Alaska it                                                               
is difficult  to access  reproductive health  care, comprehensive                                                               
sexual  education, and  abortion. The  bill would  infringe on  a                                                               
woman's  legal  right to  have  an  abortion and  would  penalize                                                               
physicians   who  are   doing  their   job.  She   suggested  the                                                               
legislature  focus  on  funding  programs  that  teach  medically                                                               
accurate  sex  education  and   healthy  relationships  to  avoid                                                               
unintended pregnancies.  She urged the  members to vote no  on SB
CHAIR COGHILL  noted that  the audio coming  out of  Anchorage is                                                               
very poor.                                                                                                                      
2:20:56 PM                                                                                                                    
PAM SAMASH,  representing self, Nenana,  Alaska, said  she wanted                                                               
to  remind  people that  it  was  the  State Medical  Board  that                                                               
decided  to allow  late term  abortions. She  said the  fact that                                                               
Planned Parenthood doesn't  support SB 124, makes her  want it 10                                                               
times more. She  urged the committee to pass the  bill and save a                                                               
2:22:36 PM                                                                                                                    
XOCHITL   LOPEZ-AYALA,   representing   self,   Juneau,   Alaska,                                                               
testified  in opposition  to  SB 124.  She  can't understand  why                                                               
access to abortion should come  up in the legislature every year.                                                               
Government  has no  place in  decisions a  woman makes  about her                                                               
body. Focus  on resources for  sex education and access  to birth                                                               
control and  family planning contraception that  will help women,                                                               
particularly  Native  women  and  women of  color  like  herself.                                                               
Protect Alaska women and do not pass SB 124.                                                                                    
2:24:50 PM                                                                                                                    
SERENE ROSE O'HARA-JOLLEY,  representing self, Fairbanks, Alaska,                                                               
testified in opposition to SB  124. She directed attention to the                                                               
fiscal note  and opined that the  money would be better  spent on                                                               
family planning  services and access to  reproductive care before                                                               
the need  for an  abortion arises. The  safe and  medically sound                                                               
way to  reduce the  need for abortions  is sex  education, family                                                               
planning, and  access to birth  control. She urged  the committee                                                               
to support using the money Alaska  has in a sensible way and make                                                               
the state safer for all Alaskans. Oppose SB 124.                                                                                
2:26:32 PM                                                                                                                    
ANN  RAPPOPORT, representing  self, Anchorage,  Alaska, testified                                                               
in  opposition to  SB 124.  She  referenced an  editorial in  the                                                               
Anchorage Daily News  that talked about why SB 124  is such a bad                                                               
idea. It raised the question of  whether those who are working to                                                               
prevent abortion are stepping up  to adopt those babies who would                                                               
each  likely  need extensive  medical  and  social services  care                                                               
throughout   their    lives.   The   legislature    has   already                                                               
significantly  cut  funding  for   health  and  social  services.                                                               
Passing SB  124 would  result in  another huge  unfunded mandate.                                                               
DHSS determined that  should the bill pass, it  would cost nearly                                                               
$2 million  in the first year  and nearly $4 million  a few years                                                               
later.  This   money  could  be   put  to  much  better   use  in                                                               
reproductive   health  planning.   Significantly,  the   bill  is                                                               
estimated  to  potentially affect  two  fetuses  a year  with  an                                                               
increase  in  the   next  few  years.  She   questioned  why  the                                                               
legislature is  spending time on this  bill when the state  is on                                                               
the brink of fiscal collapse  and classroom sizes are increasing.                                                               
A  woman's  reproductive  decisions   are  not  the  government's                                                               
business. She urged the committee to vote no on SB 124.                                                                         
2:29:53 PM                                                                                                                    
LIZ RANGEL,  representing self,  Anchorage, Alaska,  testified in                                                               
opposition  to   SB  124.  It  is   inappropriate  to  politicize                                                               
decisions  on women's  bodies. Bills  like SB  124 have  the sole                                                               
purpose of placing obstacles between  women and their access to a                                                               
safe  abortion.  The  vague language  makes  the  bill  medically                                                               
unsafe and  encourages the  physician to  place the  woman's life                                                               
second to that  of the fetus. She asked the  Senate to place more                                                               
value on children that are  already born by funding education. As                                                               
an Alaskan woman, she urged the committee to vote no on SB 124.                                                                 
2:31:14 PM                                                                                                                    
MELISSA   RHODES-REESE,   representing  self,   Juneau,   Alaska,                                                               
testified in opposition  to SB 124. The factors that  go into the                                                               
decision to have  an abortion are personal,  private, and between                                                               
a woman, her  family, and her medical  professional. The decision                                                               
to have  an abortion is  difficult, particularly when it  is late                                                               
term. In 2017,  8 percent of abortions in Alaska  were late term.                                                               
The circumstances  are tremendous.  She shared a  personal family                                                               
experience and reiterated her opposition to SB 124.                                                                             
2:33:18 PM                                                                                                                    
RICK  SMALL, representing  self, Palmer,  Alaska, said  he is  an                                                               
abolitionist of human abortion.  Just as there were abolitionists                                                               
of slavery, he doesn't believe  the murder of human beings should                                                               
be  regulated.  The  practice should  be  abolished.  Alaska  law                                                               
states  the  unborn  child  is worthy  of  protection,  but  that                                                               
protection  does  not  apply  if  a  woman  decides  to  have  an                                                               
abortion.  That is  insane  and  evil. SB  124  does not  address                                                               
abortion as murder, but it  is premeditated murder of an innocent                                                               
human  being during  development. It  is time  for Christians  to                                                               
rise up and work to abolish abortion, not regulate it.                                                                          
2:35:04 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KELLY  commented that he didn't  believe the abolitionist                                                               
were against the underground railroad.                                                                                          
2:35:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL stated that he  would hold public testimony open on                                                               
SB 124.                                                                                                                         
2:35:49 PM                                                                                                                    
JASMINE   LEREMIA,   representing   self,   Petersburg,   Alaska,                                                               
testified in opposition to SB 124.  She is 17 and her perspective                                                               
of SB 124 is that it  asks for underdeveloped, unborn children to                                                               
undergo a premature induced birth.  She doesn't see the rationale                                                               
behind forcing  babies to live  a life  where they are  without a                                                               
mother  from  birth.  They  would  suffer  from  not  having  the                                                               
mother/child  bond that  shapes their  development. Additionally,                                                               
these  premature babies  would  fall behind  their peers  because                                                               
their  premature  development  is  done  outside  the  womb.  Her                                                               
brother was born three months  premature and nearly died multiple                                                               
times  in  his first  year.  He  also  suffered from  social  and                                                               
academic  learning disabilities  until  middle school.  He had  a                                                               
fulltime  mother.  The  negative  effects  on  premature  babies'                                                               
development  without  a  fulltime  mother would  likely  be  more                                                               
potent. SB  124 also leaves  open the important questions  of the                                                               
plan for  these premature children, how  they would be kept  in a                                                               
state of healthy physical and  psychological development, and the                                                               
role the state would take on  by taking charge of these unwanted,                                                               
premature children.  The cost of  a program to support  this bill                                                               
would  be detrimental  to the  state  in this  time of  financial                                                               
crisis.  SB 124  is  unusually  cruel to  the  children it  would                                                               
affect and it  is inefficient and financially  detrimental to the                                                               
2:38:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO  asked Mr. Martin  if he recalls any  other time                                                               
that Planned Parenthood and Alaska Right  to Life came out on the                                                               
same side of a piece of legislation.                                                                                            
PATRICK MARTIN,  Alaska Right to  Life, said not that  he recalls                                                               
but they  are not on the  same side here either.  The reasons for                                                               
their opposition are completely different.                                                                                      
2:39:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL said he would keep  public testimony open on SB 124                                                               
and  hold  the bill  for  further  consideration. He  would  take                                                               
amendments on Wednesday.                                                                                                        

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 124 - Letter of Support - Pro Life Alaska.pdf SJUD 3/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 124
SB 124 - Letter of Support - Alaska Family Action.pdf SJUD 3/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 124
SB 124 - Letters of Opposition #2.pdf SJUD 3/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 124
SB 124 - Letters of Opposition.pdf SJUD 3/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 124
SB 122 - CRP 2017-2018 Workplan.pdf SJUD 3/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 122
SB 122 - CRP-2017 Annual-Report.pdf SJUD 3/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 122
SB 122 - OCS Response to CRP 2017 Annual Report.pdf SJUD 3/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 122
SB 122 - Sectional Summary.pdf SJUD 3/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 122
SB 122 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SJUD 3/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 122
SB 122 - Version J.PDF SJUD 3/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 122
SB 122 - CRP-BIA Providers Conference Presentation.pdf SJUD 3/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 122