Pat Martin, known as a passionate advocate for the rights of the unborn, overstayed his welcome at the Mat-Su legislative town hall meeting on Saturday, and finally was asked to leave the meeting, after he would not yield the microphone.
Martin was objecting to a bill presented by Sen. Shelley Hughes, who is a supporter of the right to life cause. Her bill is a constitutional amendment to end abortion.
But Martin was laying a trap, and he accused Hughes of actually trying to regulate abortion, rather than eliminate it.
Hughes was having none of it. She defended SJR 4, which says that state funding for abortion and abortion itself is not the purpose of the privacy clause of the Constitution. That privacy clause has been used by Alaska courts time and again to stop lawmakers and the public itself from putting limits on abortion.
SJR 4 would require passage by the voters.
“It grieves my heart, every baby that is aborted. I want to save every baby. I want abortion to not exist,” Hughes said. “I am so disappointed with Mr. Martin.”
She said, “Alaska Right to Life should not be linking arms with Planned Parenthood to stop a good constitutional amendment. It is what we need because the judges have knocked everything down that we have tried to do.”
Hughes said, “If he wants to stop this, then he is going to allow more babies to die. What he is doing is destructive. It is destructive. I’m in touch with the board of Alaska Right to Life because I don’t think they are all aware of the message you have been passing out, Mr. Martin,” Sen. Hughes said. “Linking arms with Planned Parenthood is shameful.”
“Saying that is deceitful and double shameful,” Martin responded, as the crowd grew restless. Shower allowed Martin a short rebuttal.
Martin had some supporters in the crowd, which was gathered at the Menard Sports Center in Wasilla. But he also was being shouted down by others who said he had taken too much time. People were shouting, “Stop the filibuster!” and booing Martin.
Each speaker was supposed to be limited three minutes, and Martin had dominated the meeting for over 10 minutes.
Finally, because he would not step away, and continued to be combative with the lawmakers, Sen. Mike Shower forcefully asked Martin to leave. Martin went into the hallway and continued to talk to anyone who would listen to his views on SJR 4.
Over 100 people attended the town hall, and most of them were passionate about topics but not angry or rude to the lawmakers. The entire Mat-Su delegation attended: Sens. David Wilson, Shower, and Hughes, and Reps. Cathy Tilton (minority leader), DeLena Johnson, David Eastman, Kevin McCabe, and Chris Kurka, (who is the past executive director of Alaska Right to Life). Rep. George Rauscher attended by phone.