Legislature(2019 - 2020)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/13/2020 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

Audio Topic
01:31:26 PM Start
01:33:11 PM Confirmation Hearing(s)
02:25:00 PM SJR13
03:01:40 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
          SJR 13-CONST. AM: PROHIBIT ABORTION/FUNDING                                                                       
2:25:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL  announced  the   consideration  of  SENATE  JOINT                                                               
RESOLUTION NO. 13, Proposing an  amendment to the Constitution of                                                               
the State of Alaska relating to abortion.                                                                                       
[CHAIR COGHILL opened public testimony on SJR 13.]                                                                              
2:26:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MARGARET  MCDONAGH, representing  self,  Anchorage, Alaska,  said                                                               
she is a lifelong Alaskan who  believes SJR 13 violates the right                                                               
to  privacy  guaranteed  in  the Constitution  of  the  State  of                                                               
Alaska.  She views  someone's  health  care decisions,  including                                                               
reproductive  health  care,  as   private  decisions.  She  urged                                                               
members not to move SJR 13 from committee.                                                                                      
2:27:18 PM                                                                                                                    
MATT  DUNCAN,  representing  self, Anchorage,  Alaska,  spoke  in                                                               
opposition to  SJR 13.  He offered his  view that  charities care                                                               
for the unwanted children of  the world. He suggested that people                                                               
will  testify that  they want  abortion banned,  yet they  do not                                                               
want to care for the people who  are not wanted. He referred to a                                                               
book, The Tipping Point by  Malcolm Gladwell, to substantiate his                                                             
belief that  legalized abortion leads  to less crime.  He offered                                                               
his belief that a woman's right  to make her own decisions is her                                                               
2:29:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHERYL  LOVEGREEN, representing  self, Anchorage,  Alaska, stated                                                               
that SJR 13  would amend the Constitution of the  State of Alaska                                                               
and remove Alaskans'  right to privacy and the right  to safe and                                                               
legal  abortions.  It would  force  women  and teenage  girls  to                                                               
endure  pregnancies resulting  from rape  or incest.  She pointed                                                               
out that  Alaska has high  rates of  sexual assault. She  cited a                                                               
recent  poll that  indicates that  nearly  8 of  10 Alaskans  are                                                               
opposed to  the legislature banning  abortion. She  urged members                                                               
to vote it down.                                                                                                                
2:31:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES  clarified  that  this resolution  does  not  ban                                                               
abortion  or remove  a woman's  rights or  force someone  who has                                                               
been raped  to seek  an illegal abortion.  Instead, SJR  13 would                                                               
allow the legislature and Alaskans  through an initiative process                                                               
to decide  if there  are any  parameters regarding  abortion that                                                               
the state would like to set,  just as other states have done. She                                                               
asked testifiers  to read  SJR 13. She  reiterated that  it would                                                               
allow  the  legislature  to  set   the  policy  rather  than  the                                                               
2:32:34 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL explained  that  the sponsor  was  correct on  the                                                               
direct effect of  SJR 13, but it would  permit those restrictions                                                               
and many more.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR COGHILL  acknowledged that would  be part of  the committee                                                               
discussion  with   the  cloud  of  the   Alaska  Supreme  Court's                                                               
decisions impacting the issue.                                                                                                  
2:33:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SAVANNA   SCHOESSLER,   representing  self,   Soldotna,   Alaska,                                                               
expressed  her frustration  of not  being able  to testify  at an                                                               
earlier hearing. She  said she is a lifelong  Alaskan who opposes                                                               
SJR  13.  She  disagreed  with  the  sponsor's  earlier  comments                                                               
because  it   leaves  woman's  health   care  decisions   in  the                                                               
government's realm  instead of with  women. This  includes forced                                                               
births, which does not have a  place in civilized society. She is                                                               
opposed   to  government   intervention  and   to  changing   the                                                               
Constitution of the State of Alaska.  She offered her view that a                                                               
member is being paid by an anti-abortion organization.                                                                          
2:35:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  asked the Chair to  prohibit accusations during                                                               
public testimony,  which is unfair,  unjustified, and  should not                                                               
occur. He welcomed hearing opinions  during public testimony, but                                                               
he was not willing to be personally maligned.                                                                                   
CHAIR  COGHILL  cautioned   testifiers  against  making  personal                                                               
accusations and  to limit  their comments  to the  resolution. He                                                               
acknowledged that this issue elicits strong opinions.                                                                           
2:36:32 PM                                                                                                                    
HAYDEN NEVILL, representing self,  Fairbanks, Alaska, stated that                                                               
he understands  the language in SJR  13. He said he  loves Alaska                                                               
because  he  values  its  natural  beauty,  but  he  also  values                                                               
Alaskans' right to privacy and  the right for individuals to make                                                               
their own decisions.  In fact, the right to privacy  is so valued                                                               
that it is  included in the Constitution of the  State of Alaska.                                                               
He offered his belief that  the courts have correctly interpreted                                                               
that the right to privacy  includes the right to access abortion.                                                               
A  woman's decision  surrounding abortion  is intensely  personal                                                               
but is  none of  his business  or the  business of  lawmakers, he                                                               
said.  He  urged members  not  to  undermine Alaskans'  right  to                                                               
privacy because of one issue.                                                                                                   
2:38:24 PM                                                                                                                    
TERRISA   BUKOVINAC,  Founder,   Pro-Life   San  Francisco,   San                                                               
Francisco, Alaska, spoke in support of  SJR 13. She said she is a                                                               
feminist, and  an activist in  several arenas.  This organization                                                               
is  dedicated  to resisting  the  influence  of abortion  in  her                                                               
community.  She  said   SJR  13  is  crucial   to  achieve  equal                                                               
representation  for all  Alaskans. She  said that  as a  fulltime                                                               
activist  she has  worked on  similar legislation  that does  not                                                               
criminalize abortion but  keeps the door open  to regulation. She                                                               
indicated  she has  heard people's  beliefs  that resolutions  of                                                               
this type  will be  used to  ban abortion.  She agreed  that some                                                               
people  do, just  as  some want  to ban  all  birth control.  She                                                               
informed  members  that hundreds  of  research  projects rely  on                                                               
fetal  tissue that  is provided  by 18-24  weeks old  fetuses. It                                                               
concerns her because fetuses over 22  weeks have a very high rate                                                               
of  survival  and because  of  the  methods  used for  late  term                                                               
abortions.  She cited  a  poll  that showed  that  72 percent  of                                                               
Democrats want abortion more restricted and regulated.                                                                          
2:42:00 PM                                                                                                                    
KATHY TAYLOR  YOKEL, representing self, Fairbanks,  Alaska, spoke                                                               
against  SJR 13  and  in support  of the  right  to privacy.  She                                                               
pointed out that that birth  control is not 100 percent effective                                                               
and then  related her family's  experiences related  to abortions                                                               
and to the medical risk of pregnancy.                                                                                           
CHAIR  COGHILL  held public  testimony  open  and encouraged  the                                                               
public       to      submit       written      testimony       to                                                               
2:44:31 PM                                                                                                                    
MOIRA PYHALA, representing self, Soldotna,  Alaska, said she is a                                                               
lifelong  Alaskan.  She  remarked  that Alaska  has  the  highest                                                               
incidence of  sexual assault in  the nation. She stated  that she                                                               
was  a  victim  of  sexual   assault  as  a  15-year  old,  which                                                               
fortunately did not  result in a pregnancy. She  offered her view                                                               
that she would not have graduated  from college if she had become                                                               
pregnant.  She did  not believe  SJR 13  would end  abortion, but                                                               
that  it  would  end  safe  and legal  abortions.  She  said  she                                                               
considers  health care  to include  abortion.  She urged  Senator                                                               
Micciche to  help provide  access to health  care rather  than to                                                               
undermine health care  decisions that women in  his district make                                                               
and urged the legislature to  address important issues, including                                                               
the high incidence of sexual assault in Alaska.                                                                                 
CHAIR COGHILL reminded members to stay focused on SJR 13.                                                                       
2:47:37 PM                                                                                                                    
DIANA  REDWOOD, representing  self, Anchorage,  Alaska, spoke  in                                                               
opposition to  amending the Constitution  of the State  of Alaska                                                               
through  SJR 13.  She said  this resolution  seems to  weaken the                                                               
privacy  protections and  reproductive health  in the  state. She                                                               
referred to  SJR 13, which  states it  is to protect  human life,                                                               
but access  to family  planning, including  abortion, is  also an                                                               
economic issue. When abortions are  limited, it increases women's                                                               
chances to  experience poverty,  unemployment, and  dependence on                                                               
public assistance programs. She urged  members not to pass SJR 13                                                               
from committee.                                                                                                                 
2:49:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRISTINE  ROBBINS, representing  self, Fairbanks,  Alaska, spoke                                                               
in support to  SJR 13. She said  this will put power  back to the                                                               
people  and restore  balance in  the legislative,  executive, and                                                               
judicial branches of  government. She offered her  view that less                                                               
than  one  percent  of abortions  are  medically  necessary.  She                                                               
offered  her view  that  supporting abortion  is  a violation  of                                                               
conscience for most  Alaskans and Americans. She  stated that she                                                               
works  in  various  ministries  and   many  people  do  want  the                                                               
unwanted. She  objected to  public funding  of abortion.  She did                                                               
not consider abortions as health  care. She offered her view that                                                               
the issue  is not  about privacy but  about having  abortion paid                                                               
for by someone else.                                                                                                            
2:51:11 PM                                                                                                                    
ANDY  RICE,  representing  self,  North Pole,  Alaska,  spoke  in                                                               
support  of SJR  13,  to  place the  matter  on  the ballot.  She                                                               
offered her view that each  life matters. She spoke in opposition                                                               
to having tax dollars spent on  abortions and opined that all the                                                               
lives that have been lost is a travesty to society.                                                                             
2:52:29 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
2:53:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL reconvened the meeting.                                                                                           
2:53:30 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBYN STEVENS,  representing self,  Juneau, Alaska, said  she has                                                               
been lucky to have consistent  access to birth control, medically                                                               
accurate  sex education,  and healthy  relations. Many  women are                                                               
not lucky.  She said  she understands  what SJR  13 does.  It has                                                               
been upheld  over and over  that people  have the right  to self-                                                               
determination and  cannot be  forced to  donate blood  to another                                                               
person, yet  she would  be denied bodily  autonomy. She  said the                                                               
defining feature  of slavery  was to  take away  people's rights.                                                               
She offered her  view that forced pregnancy is  being executed by                                                               
the most  barbaric factions in the  modern world and listed  as a                                                               
human rights  violation by the  United Nations. The U.S.  has the                                                               
highest risk  of maternal mortality  in the developed  world. She                                                               
suggested that  the focus  should be to  provide the  best chance                                                               
for every wanted  child instead of forcing  vulnerable women into                                                               
potentially life-threatening situations.                                                                                        
2:55:40 PM                                                                                                                    
DANIEL  DAUGHERTY,  Student,   University  of  Alaska  Fairbanks;                                                               
President, Arctic Students for Life,  Fairbanks, Alaska, spoke in                                                               
support  of SJR  13.  He  said he  has  not  heard people  define                                                               
abortion in  today's testimony, but it  is the ending of  a human                                                               
life. He found it disturbing  that people ignore that definition,                                                               
but  instead   talk  about  taking  away   women's  rights.  This                                                               
resolution would  allow legislature to  regulate the ending  of a                                                               
human life.                                                                                                                     
2:58:29 PM                                                                                                                    
PRINCE NWANKUDU,  representing self, Anchorage, Alaska,  spoke in                                                               
support of SJR  13. He said the  issue at stake is  a human life.                                                               
He said  protecting the child in  the womb is a  moral obligation                                                               
to  ensure medical  abortion is  regulated. He  did not  view the                                                               
resolution as banning  abortion, but to make sure  that people do                                                               
not  have an  abortion  as  a right,  which  is contradictory  to                                                               
federal  laws. He  said  many pro-life  people  are champions  of                                                               
adoptions. He  urged members  to let  Alaskans decide  this issue                                                               
via a ballot initiative.                                                                                                        
3:00:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL  encouraged people  to submit written  testimony to                                                               
senate.judiciary@akleg.gov.  He  said  public testimony  will  be                                                               
held open.                                                                                                                      
SJR 13 was held in committee.                                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects