Sen. Cathy Giessel this week continued to roll out what appears to be her relatively new position on abortion: She does not support legislation that would bring the question of limits or sideboards on abortion to voters.
In a press conference on Monday, Giessel joined other members of the Senate majority in taking questions from reporters. One reporter asked the group about Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s pro-life statements in his State of the State Address earlier that evening, when he said he wants to make Alaska the most pro-life state in the union.
Currently, the Alaska Constitution has been interpreted by judges to mean that a child may be aborted all the way until birth. There are no abortion restrictions in Alaska, which has no gestation cut-off time in law. Even liberal California does not allow abortions after 24 weeks gestation except to save the life of the mother.
Giessel fielded the question, after Senate President Gary Stevens hemmed and hawed that all bills should get a hearing, even if they were not likely to move from one of the committees.
Giessel was more direct: “Alaska does have constitutional protection for abortion and so I would suspect, although I don’t know this, that he [the governor] would be proposing a constitutional amendment that would put some restrictions on abortion services.
When asked if she would support the matter going to voters, she said, “I personally would not, but we’ll see what happens with the Senate body. We’ll see.”
It’s a 180-degree turn from the bill Sen. Giessel proposed in 2018, Senate Bill 124, which was known as the “Born Alive Bill.”
That bill addressed duties of physicians and health care practitioners when performing or inducing abortions, that if the baby that was being aborted came out alive, they would be required to view that as a person in need of aid and make a reasonable attempt to save her or her life.
That bill died in Senate Finance after receiving a “do not pass” from Sen. Bill Wielechowski in Judiciary. Wielechowski, in the current Senate, controls what bills go to the floor as the chairman of Rules Committee.