Skip to content

Alaska doctors: Planned Parenthood shouldn’t get to decide what ‘medically necessary’ means

ADF files brief with Alaska Supreme Court in defense of law that makes sure taxpayers don’t pay for elective abortions
Planned Parenthood Scandal: Do You Care More about the Facts or the Truth?

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Alaska Supreme Court on behalf of physicians who support Senate Bill 49 and a related state regulation that clarify that Medicaid dollars can only be used to pay for “medically necessary” services as defined by medically recognized, statewide standards.

Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest is challenging the bill because the abortion giant wants taxpayers to fund virtually every abortion by claiming that all abortions are “medically necessary.”

“Alaska’s Medicaid funds should only be used to pay for necessary medical services, not elective abortions,” said ADF-allied attorney Kevin Clarkson, who co-wrote the brief for the Alaska physicians. “Planned Parenthood has routinely certified a medical necessity to exist simply because a woman doesn’t want to be pregnant—because of her employment or education, for example—or claims she doesn’t have the money to pay for an elective abortion. SB 49 protects taxpayers by providing clarity to the law so that any abortions paid for with Medicaid dollars truly are medically necessary.”

The brief filed in State of Alaska v. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest clarifies the broader principle at stake: “As with all medical procedures, there is a proper and discernible distinction between procedures that are necessary to preserve a patient’s life and health and those that are undertaken voluntarily to achieve a speculative or subjectively desired result.”

The brief outlines that “the State is not obligated to leave the definition of ‘medical necessity’ for purposes of Medicaid funding in the sole and unquestioned discretion of the physician.” It goes on to demonstrate how Planned Parenthood’s standard of “medical necessity” is wildly subjective, creating troubling inconsistency in the use of public funds for pay for abortions.

“Planned Parenthood shouldn’t be allowed to set its own rules for when taxpayers must pay for the abortions it commits,” said ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden. “Our brief filed on behalf of numerous Alaska physicians highlights the extensive trial testimony by both Planned Parenthood’s medical experts and the state’s. That testimony shows that it’s only inside the four walls of a Planned Parenthood facility that every single abortion is deemed ‘medically necessary,’ a determination that feeds the abortion giant’s bottom line."

“It simply isn’t true that every abortion is medically necessary,” said Clarkson. “Alaska’s law crafts a definition for medical necessity that is based upon the expert advice of some of the best physicians in the nation. The law conforms to standard medical practice rather than the rationale of those with a financial incentive to trigger state Medicaid payments.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


# # #