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Alaskan Governor Vetoes Child’s Healthcare Funding Due to Abortion Concerns

Alaskan Governor Sean Parnell vetoed a bill earlier this month that would have expanded funding for the Alaskan version of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, Denali Kidcare. According to the Associated Press, Parnell vetoed the bill because the program provides funding for medically necessary abortions. In explaining his decision to deny Denali KidCare funding Parnell said, “I want to be able to provide those services. But if your governor doesn’t stand for life and liberty, as he understands it in his conscience, then you don’t have a governor,” reported the American Prospect. According to the Associated Press, Parnell supported the bill, Senate Bill 13, since October, but suddenly withdrew support for the proposal in April when he learned that Denali KidCare funded abortions. Parnell explained, “For years, I have thought Denali KidCare provides useful services, and indeed it does…I was under the mistaken impression that what it provided were just the usual health care services that we all enjoy at the doctors.” He continued, “A leader who finds out new information must change his or her position and must do so as humbly, but as openly, as possible. That’s what I’m doing.” Currently Denali Kidcare covers about 8,000 children. According to the Associated Press, the vetoed bill would have added nearly 1,300 more children to the program, as well as expanded coverage to 225 pregnant women. In 2009 only 0.18 percent of funding for KidCare went toward abortion-related services, according to the American Prospect. Adam Sonfield of the Guttmacher Institute described Parnell’s decision to veto the bill as “extreme.” He told the American Prospect, “This type of move – to say that we are going to cut, essentially, a broad-based health-care program – is unprecedented. I can’t think of any state that has done anything near this extreme because of abortion.”

Sources:

Associated Press 6/3/10; The American Prospect 6/11/10

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