Friday, June 28th was a remarkable day in Alaska political history – and not just because Governor Mike Dunleavy honored a key campaign promise by vetoing more than $444 million from the state budget.
The Governor also had to contend with an absurd decision from the Alaska Supreme Court ordering the state to pay for elective abortions. The court’s ruling, handed down this past February, struck down both a 2013 regulation issued by the Parnell Administration, and a 2014 statute passed by the Legislature, which attempted to cut off funding for elective abortions.
Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Legislature chose this year to pass an operating budget that expressly forbids funding of abortion. The amendment deleted $334,700 from the general fund budget, the amount the state spent in Fiscal Year 2018 on abortions.
Faced with a court order to continue paying for abortions, Governor Dunleavy came up with a unique response. He decided that if liberal judges are going to demand subsidized abortions, the cost will come out of their budget. Among the many budget vetoes Governor Dunleavy announced today, there is included a reduction of $334,700 in the Alaska Court System’s budget – exactly the reduction the Legislature approved when it adopted language to eliminate abortion funding.
Lest anyone be confused on the Governor’s intent, he explained it concisely in his veto message:
“The Legislative and Executive Branch are opposed to State funded elective abortions: the only branch of government that insists on State funded elective abortions is the Supreme Court. The annual cost of elective abortions is reflected by this reduction. The Federal Government also prohibits any federal funds paying for elective abortions.”
The Alaska Supreme Court has a long history of extremist rulings on abortion. But until today, they never suffered any real consequences for it. Now they will start feeling the pain of their own arrogance. Every dollar the state spends on killing unborn children will be cut from their budget.
At the risk of stating the obvious, today’s action is no long-term solution. Ultimately, our goal must be to ensure that no agency of state government is paying even one cent to destroy life. The best way to accomplish this permanently is to amend our constitution to make it abundantly clear there is no right in the state constitution for abortion, or abortion funding.
But while we work on that long-term goal, Governor Dunleavy deserves credit for calling out the court on their radical record. In defiance of the constitution, liberal justices have pretended they have the power to appropriate money, even though appropriation power is expressly reserved to the Legislature. Now they will deal with the consequences of exceeding their authority. As we read in the book of Proverbs (16:18), “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
— Jim Minnery
President, Alaska Family Action