Senate committee hears public testimony on bill restricting state abortion funding

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska. (KTVF) Alaskan residents gave their voice during public testimony on a bill proposing to amend the Alaska constitution regarding the right to an abortion.

Residents testified at the Fairbanks Legislative Information Office on Friday. (Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)

The Senate Health and Social Services committee held a public hearing on Senate Joint Resolution 13, which adds a section to the constitution that states, “To protect human life, nothing in this constitution may be construed to secure or protect a right to an abortion or require the state to fund an abortion.”

Multiple senators, including Interior legislator Senator John Coghill, sponsored the bill. Of the residents who were able to testify on Friday, the majority were in opposition to the bill. Residents at the Fairbanks Legislative Information Office spoke in opposition as well.

"Those who desire to control women's reproductive freedom by interfering with their medical care need to be stopped. And I urge you to strongly stand against SJR-13. No one should be allowed to interfere with my right to privacy to private medical care, period. My mother is alive today in her 80s because she was able to get abortions, and yes, she was responsibly using birth control,” said a Fairbanks resident.

Residents around the state were able to testify as well, and some of those spoke in favor of the resolution.

"When we put forth votes on protection of natural resources, we put forth votes on marijuana, and we should at least hear from the citizens of our state on this very important issue: protecting life itself,” said Carl Hedman of Valdez.

The bill passed the 'Senate Heath and Social Services Committee' and is expected to head to the Senate Judiciary committee next week.

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