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Refusal to Provide Medical Services


Alaska allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide abortion services.

To whom does the refusal clause apply? Individuals and hospitals.

What does the refusal clause allow? No person or hospital may be required to participate in an abortion.  In addition, no person or hospital may be liable for refusing to participate in an abortion.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to notify the persons affected? No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised? No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for abortion services? No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause? No.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this refusal clause? Yes. The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that this refusal clause is unconstitutional under the state constitution to the extent that it applies to "quasi-public" institutions and has issued a permanent injunction prohibiting enforcement of a "quasi-public" hospital's policy barring abortion services.  Valley Hosp. Ass'n v. Mat-Su Coalition for Choice, 948 P.2d 963 (Alaska 1997).  In addition, the Alaska attorney general has issued two opinions stating that under the state constitution, non-sectarian hospitals built or operated with public funds may not refuse to offer abortion services.  Alaska Op. Att'y Gen. No. 15 (Mar. 31, 1978); Alaska Op. Att'y Gen. No. 8 (Feb. 10, 1978).

Alaska Stat. § 18.16.010 (Enacted 1970; Renumbered 1978; Reorganized 1986; Last Amended 2010).

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