Bills on the move dealing with parental rights, faith-based health care options

In Alaska’s State Legislature this session, lawmakers face myriad bills of concern to Alaskan Catholics. Following is an update on several bills moving through the legislative process, including dates of upcoming hearings.

For more information and to contact your legislators, go to akleg.gov or call 800-478-4648. To follow Catholic Anchor reports, including news updates on public testimonies and bill hearings, go online to CatholicAnchor.org.

The current legislative session runs until April 19.

CONTRACEPTION MANDATE

In an effort to force health insurance companies and private business owners in Alaska to provide coverage for the “full range” of prescription and over-the-counter contraceptives, sterilizations and contraceptive-focused exams, Anchorage Democrat Rep. Matt Claman has introduced House Bill 345.

House Bill 345 would force health care insurers operating in the state to cover the contraceptive Pill, so-called “emergency contraception” and IUDs (inserted in outpatient procedures) — all of which can cause early abortions of living human embryos.

A companion bill, Senate Bill 156, has been introduced in the Alaska Senate by Anchorage Democrat Sen. Berta Gardner.

FAITH-BASED HEALTH CARE OPTIONS

Senate Bill 18 would exempt religious-based health care sharing ministries (HCSMs) from being regulated as health insurance in Alaska. A distinctive and attractive aspect of HCSMs for many Catholics and non-Catholic Christians alike is that HCSMs are not subject to federal or state contraceptive or abortion mandates.

Sponsor: Sen. John Coghill

Status: The bill was introduced last year and referred to the Committees on Health & Social Services and Labor & Commerce. As of press time, the bill had passed out of the Labor & Commerce Committee and was referred to the Rules Committee.

PARENTAL RIGHTS IN EDUCATION

Senate Bill 89 seeks to ensure a parent has the right to direct the education of his or her public school child, including the right to object to and withdraw the child from state-mandated tests, and from activities or classes on sexual matters which parents find objectionable. The bill also would prohibit public schools from administering student questionnaires that inquire into personal or private family affairs of the student. And the bill would prevent school districts from contracting with an abortion services provider for course materials or to provide instruction relating to human sexuality. According to the Catholic Catechism, “Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children.”

Sponsors: Sens. Mike Dunleavy, Cathy Giessel, Charlie Huggins, Bill Stoltze, Pete Kelly, Anna MacKinnon, John Coghill, Kevin Meyer

Status: The bill is set for a vote by the full Senate on Friday, Feb. 26.

RESTRICTING ABORTION PROVIDERS FROM PUBLIC SCHOOLS

A bill to restrict Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from teaching or distributing materials in Alaska’s public schools has been introduced in the Alaska Legislature.

Introduced by Senator Mike Dunleavy, Senate Bill 191 will provide for civil penalties and the revocation or suspension of teacher certificates for those instructors who violate the proposed law by inviting abortion providers and their legal affiliates into classrooms for instructional purposes.

Senate Bill 191 states that abortion providers may not “present or deliver any instruction or program on any topic to students at a public school. Abortion providers that violate the proposed law would be “liable to civil action for a penalty of $5,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater, plus costs and reasonable attorney fees, to each aggrieved student or the student’s estate.” Additionally, a school board member who violates the proposed law would not be eligible to receive state funds on or after the date of the violation.

For more information about the bill go to akleg.gov and enter SB 191.

A companion bill, House Bill 352, has been introduced in the Alaska House by Rep. Lynn Gattis.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD TAKES NOTICE

Planned Parenthood in Alaska has taken notice of recent legislative proposals to restrict abortion providers from public schools and is taking an active role in pressuring lawmakers to reject such legislation.

The state’s largest abortion provider has lobbied hard against SB 89, which would restrict their access to public school students and give parents the option to pull children from unwanted sex education classes. Likewise the abortion provider has lobbied hard against SB 191 which bans abortion providers from access to public school classrooms.

In multiple emails to its supporters, Planned Parenthood has attempted to inundate lawmakers with emails and phone calls opposed to the legislation that would roll back Planned Parenthoods influence in public schools.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION

For information about public hearings and upcoming action on certain bills, go to http://akleg.gov/index.php and type in the name of specific bills at the top of the page.

Information on how to read bills and follow their progress through is available at http://akleg.gov/start.php.

To contact a senator or representative, click here: http://akleg.gov/docs/pdf/doso/DosoALL.pdf#page=12

 

 


'Bills on the move dealing with parental rights, faith-based health care options' have 1 comment

  1. February 2016 @ 1:55 pm Miles Curtis

    SB162, Sen. Gardner will prevent rapists in Alaska from seeking custody of children conceived through rape. This should make women more comfortable in choosing not to abort these children.

    Reply


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