Planned Parenthood Sues Alaska

January 30, 2014

Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest sued the state health commissioner Wednesday over regulations that would further define what constitutes a "medically necessary" abortion for purposes of receiving Medicaid funding.

The lawsuit, filed in Anchorage Superior Court, seeks to have the regulations struck down as unconstitutional and to block the state from enforcing them. The lawsuit alleges the regulations violate the rights to equal protection, privacy and health and are also a violation of the administrative procedure act. The lawsuit says the department violated the act by not holding a public hearing on the proposal.

A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, Kristen Glundberg-Prossor, said the regulations circumvent a 2001 Alaska Supreme Court decision, which held that the state must fund medically necessary abortions if it funds medically necessary services for others with financial needs. The lawsuit lists as defendants Bill Streur, the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services who proposed the regulations, and the department.

A health department spokeswoman said Streur had not seen the lawsuit and would not comment until he has reviewed it with the Department of Law.

The regulations are scheduled to take effect Sunday. Planned Parenthood also filed a motion seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the regulations until the case is resolved or there is a further order by the court.

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