Alaska Abolition of Abortion Act of 2019 (HB 178)
This law was last updated on May 16, 2019
HB 178 would ban legal abortion in Alaska and create a new interpretation of the “right to privacy” under state law.
The bill would repeal all state statutes regulating abortion and make it a felony crime—with no exceptions for the life of a pregnant person or for victims of rape or incest.
The bill provides that a “preborn child” is a resident of the state of Alaska if the mother of the “preborn child” is a resident.
The bill would define “abortion” under state law to mean:
[…]the death of a child as the result of action taken before or during the birth of the child with the intent to cause the death of the child.
The bill would define “child” under state law to mean:
[…]a natural person from the moment of conception until 18 years of age.
The bill would define “natural person” under state law to mean:
[…]a human being, regardless of age, race, religion, size, sex, citizenship, ancestry, disability, deformity, location, stage of development, life expectancy, or condition of dependency from the moment of conception.
The bill would define “preborn child” under state law to mean:
[…]a natural person from the moment of conception who has not yet left the womb.
Interpretation of Right to Privacy
The bill provides that the intentional taking of human life “before, during, or after birth” is not protected by a right to privacy under the Alaska State Constitution.
Cause of Action
The bill would allow a parent or legal guardian of a “preborn child” to maintain an action as plaintiff for the death of a “preborn child” that was caused by the wrongful act or omission of another. This would allow a purported “father” to take legal action against a person who obtains an abortion.
The bill would amend the criminal code to redefine “person” when referring to the victim of a crime. Under this bill, when referring to a victim of a crime, “person” would mean:
[…]a human being who was alive at the time of the criminal act. A person who is not a child is “alive” if there is spontaneous respiratory or cardiac function, or, when respiratory and cardiac functions are maintained by artificial means, there is spontaneous brain function.
A person who is a child is “alive” if (1) the child meets the criteria under this section to be alive; or (2) the child is in the process of developing the ability to meet the criteria under this section to be alive.
This would effectively classify any embryo or fetus as a “person” when referring to the victim of a crime.
This means any person who obtains an abortion (or performs one) would be subject to assault/homicide charges. In Alaska, murder in the first degree is punishable by 30 to 99 years in prison. A person convicted of murder in the second degree would face 20 to 99 years in prison if they are convicted of the murder of a child under 16 years of age and the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant was a natural parent or legal guardian of the victim.
The bill would direct the state attorney general to defend any citizen of the state who is prosecuted by the federal government for violating federal law requiring the procurement or facilitation of abortion in the state. The attorney general would be directed to file any legal action necessary to prevent the implementation of a federal regulation that violates the rights of a resident of Alaska.
The bill provides that any federal law concerning the facilitation of abortion would be unenforceable in the state of Alaska.
The state would be prohibited from enacting any federal regulation that infringes on a “person’s right to life under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.”
The bill would prohibit health-care providers from prescribing, dispensing, or administering an abortion-inducing drug.
The bill would amend current law regarding information relating to pregnancy and pregnancy alternatives to eliminate any mention of abortion services, options, and counseling, as well as any reference to current informed consent requirements for abortion.
Nearly identical to HB 250, which failed to pass in 2017.
5/15/19 – Introduced; referred to House Health and Social Services Committee.