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July-31-01

Equal Protection Applies to Medically Necessary Abortions

The Alaska Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state cannot fund pregnancy-related services for low-income women without also funding medically necessary abortions. Chief Justice Dana Fabe wrote in her decision that "once the state undertakes to fund medically necessary services for poor Alaskans, it may not selectively exclude from that program women who medically require abortions." Fabe based her decision on the Alaskan constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law. This ruling stemmed from the lawsuit brought by two doctors and Planned Parenthood of Alaska against the state of Alaska in 1998.

Twenty three states offer public funding for abortion beyond cases of incest, rape and life endangerment.

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