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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

August-03-04

Governor Breaks Promise and Alters Abortion Policy in Alaska

Governor Frank Murkowski (R) of Alaska broke an election-year promise made in 2002 when he signed a bill into law affecting abortion policy last week. The “informed consent” law will require women to certify in writing that they have received all the information concerning abortion that will be posted on a new website to be created by the state. The governor appealed to pro-choice Republican women in his state during his campaign two years ago for their support with a pledge that he would not seek to change the abortion policy in Alaska, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

The "objective and unbiased" website described in state Senate Bill 30 will include information about fetal development, photos of the typical "unborn child" at various stages of pregnancy, and possible risks and complications of the abortion procedure, specifically physical and psychological effects. The site will also provide information about medical assistance benefits, child support orders, and several methods of contraception, Kaisernetwork.org reports. Finally, the bill requires doctors to inform a woman seeking an abortion exactly what the gestational age of the fetus is. All of these requirements can be waived if the pregnancy was the result of rape or sexual abuse, or if the woman's health is at risk.

Planned Parenthood of Alaska stated in a press release last week that all medical procedures require "informed consent" by law. Planned Parenthood continued, saying that the bill is meant to shame the women of Alaska who are exercising their right to an abortion, the Associated Press reports.

LEARN MORE Click here to read women's narratives about barriers or successes in accessing reproductive health and family planning services.


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Media Resources: Associated Press, 7/30/04; Anchorage Daily News, 7/29/04; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Report, 8/02/04, Planned Parenthood of Alaska, 7/27/04


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