Rep. Sarah Rasmussen, R-Anchorage, introduced two pro-life bills in the Alaska Legislature on Feb. 24. The first would require abortionists to care for a baby that is born alive during a failed abortion, and the second attempts to ban some abortions after the baby reaches 20 weeks gestation.
House Bill 283 mandates that “if the unborn child is removed from the pregnant woman’s womb alive … any health care practitioner present shall exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to a child born alive at the same fetal age in the course of a natural birth.” The bill is similar to the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in the U.S. Senate which aims to prohibit doctors from withholding medical care to babies born alive during failed abortions.
Rasmussen’s separate House Bill 284 looks to bans abortions after 20 weeks, unless the baby was conceived as a result of sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor, incest or if aborting the baby is deemed “medically necessary.”
As noted regarding other pro-life laws in Alaska that include exceptions for abortions deemed “medically necessary,” HB 284 would not prevent an abortionist from construing an abortion as “medically necessary” for practically any reason, including metal or emotional concerns of the mother. The Alaska Supreme Court has blocked legislative efforts to limit the definition of “medically necessary” to only those abortions needed to save the life of the mother or prevent serious bodily harm.
These bills were assigned to the House Committee on Health & Social Services. Thanks to the multi-party majority coalition, this seven-member committee is comprised of five Democrats and just two pro-life Republicans.