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Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP)

Alaska imposes extra restrictions on abortion providers, despite the fact that all health-care providers already must comply with a variety of federal and state regulations governing health, safety, building and fire codes, and zoning requirements.  

Restrictions on Where Abortion Services May Be Provided

Alaska places medically unnecessary restrictions on where abortion services may be provided.

Alaska has an unconstitutional requirement that all abortion services must be provided in a hospital, in a facility approved for that purpose by the state, or in a hospital operated by the federal government or one of its agencies.  Alaska Stat. § 18.16.010(a)(2) (Enacted 1970; Renumbered 1978; Reorganized 1986; Last Amended 2004).  Regulations further state that ambulatory surgical facilities (the only non-hospital facilities receiving state-approval to provide abortion care) may not provide the procedure after the first trimester; as a result, post-first trimester abortions must be provided in a hospital.  Alaska Stat. § 08.64.105 (Enacted 1970); Alaska Admin. Code tit. 7, § 12.370.

The Alaska attorney general has concluded that the requirement that all abortion services be provided in a hospital or other approved facility is invalid since it includes the first trimester of pregnancy.  Alaska Op. Att'y Gen. No. J-66-816-81 (Oct. 7, 1981) (citing Sendak v. Arnold, 429 U.S. 968 (1976)).

The Alaska attorney general has further stated that certain aspects of the regulation on first-trimester abortion services are "obviously problematic."  Alaska Op. Att'y Gen. No. 366-028-85 (July 24, 1984).

Although the Alaska attorney general has not issued an opinion concerning the second-trimester hospitalization requirement, such a requirement is unconstitutional and unenforceable under a U.S. Supreme Court case, which held that such a requirement unconstitutionally burdens a woman's right to choose. Akron v. Akron Ctr. for Reprod. Health 462 U.S. 416 (1983).

Restrictions on Who May Provide Abortion Services

Alaska prohibits certain qualified health-care professionals from providing abortion services.

Only a physician or surgeon licensed by the state may provide an abortion.  Alaska Stat. §§ 18.16.090, .010(a)(1) (Enacted 1970; Renumbered 1978; Reorganized 1986; Last Amended 2004).

The Alaska attorney general has issued an opinion stating that this law is constitutional.  Alaska Op. Att'y Gen. (Oct. 21, 1976).

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