JUNEAU, Alaska – House in the state Alaska has passed a bill requiring doctors to tell women about the risks of abortion and alternatives to the procedure on Saturday by a vote of 27-11.
A different version of the measure passed in the Senate last year, so the two versions will go through a final legislative process, which will end tomorrow, May 11.
Under the bill, women would be referred to a state Web site that would contain information on adoption agencies and pregnancy assistance groups, as well as agencies that provide abortion and family planning services. They are also required to certify in writing that her doctor has informed her of the risks of alternatives to abortion and that he has referred her to a state abortion website.
A medical professional would also have to orally inform the woman of the gestational age of the fetus at the time the abortion is to be performed.
The bill also requires the information about abortion to be objective and unbiased.
However the requirements could be waived in the case if the pregnancy is the result of rape or sexual abuse or the woman’s health is at a critical condition that abortion needs to be done immediately.
Rep. Nancy Dahlstrom, R-Eagle River, said the bill is intended to allow women to make decisions without regret.
"This bill is not about whether abortion is right or wrong; this bill is about information," Dahlstrom said. "I believe information and knowledge are power."
Rep. Sharon Cissna, D-Anchorage, said a decision to have an abortion is difficult and requiring women to visit the proposed state Web site is excessive.
"It's a heavy, heavy decision," Cissna said. "You have to be living that life in order to know what the elements were that made that up."
Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, who is on the board of Alaska Right to Life, responded that the bill is pro-education and pro-choice.
"This simply gives the mother information to make an informed choice," Lynn said.