ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Proposed state regulations describing a narrow set of circumstances when an abortion qualifies as "medically necessary" would likely be found unconstitutional, according to a memo by the state Legislative Affairs Agency.
Jean Mischel wrote the memo in response to questions from state Sen. Hollis French (D-Anchorage), who recently announced plans to run for governor, about the constitutionality of proposed rules changes by the Department of Health and Social Services.
One of the changes "appears to be inconsistent with related statutes and regulations that apply to all other covered services and may for that reason be unconstitutional," Mischel wrote.
The proposed revisions would "create a new and restrictive state standard for determining when abortion services are 'medically necessary' without applying this same standard to coverage for other types of medical care services," she wrote.
Mischel's opinion comes during an ongoing effort by DHSS to limit the use of Medicaid funding for abortions to situations where a pregnancy could cause serious physical harm to a woman's health.