Adopted in 2014, the law argued that “the state should not be required to pay for elective abortions”. On this basis, “medically necessary” abortions were defined as those that could “avoid a threat of serious risk to a woman’s life or physical health from continuation of pregnancy”. Twenty-one conditions were explicitly mentioned including congestive heart failure, seizures, epilepsy and even psychiatric disorders. Medicaid, a US health programme, was therefore no longer required to reimburse abortions when the mother’s life was not endangered.
But Jessica Cler, director of Planned Parenthood for Alaska, denounced a “cruel, inequitable restriction on abortion access for low-income women“. The judge held this view, deeming that the law violated “the state constitution’s guarantee of equal protection” and declared the law unconstitutional. Medicaid will once again have to reimburse all abortions in Alaska.