Juneau, Alaska (Alaska Beacon) – With less than two weeks to go until the August 16 election in Alaska, the three candidates seeking to temporarily replace Congressman Don Young in the U.S. House seat in Alaska have made their position clear. on abortion.
In campaign events, conversations with reporters and public forums, Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich say they support the recent US Supreme Court ruling that allows states to ban the practice and that they oppose congressional efforts to guarantee the right to abortion.
The two also say they would vote to end federal funding for Medicaid that pays for abortion services in cases of rape, incest or when a woman’s life is endangered by her pregnancy.
Democratic candidate Mary Peltola, who is criss-crossing Southeast Alaska this weekend, said Congress should codify abortion rights into law and expand access to affordable birth control.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade’s 1973 that established abortion as a constitutional right, abortion has become a major election issue across the country, including here in Alaska, where polls have repeatedly found majority support for the right to abortion, despite Alaska. reputation as a republican state.
Peltola, Palin and Begich are on the Aug. 16 ballot twice — in a special general election that will decide who will fill Alaska’s seat in the U.S. House from September through January, and they are among the 22 candidates in a primary election that is the first step in deciding who takes the House seat for a full two-year term beginning in January.
The special general election is the first to be held under Alaska’s new preferential voting system. Voters will be asked to choose a first choice, a second choice and a third choice from the three candidates. There is also a fourth option for a written candidate.
If a candidate gets more than 50% of the first-choice votes, they win.
If no one reaches that level, the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated. The votes of whoever voted for this candidate first will instead go to his second choice. The winner will be the one with the most votes at the end.
Voters do not have to rank their candidates and can vote for only one.
At a June candidates’ forum hosted by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, Peltola said, “I strongly support pro-choice and Roe versus Wade.”
“Reproductive rights are as personal an issue as it gets,” she said. “That’s one area that I don’t believe the federal government — or the state government for that matter — has said: in your personal body.”
Peltola and Palin reiterated their positions in questionnaires submitted to the Alaska Beacon in late July.
Begich did not respond to a questionnaire, but during a Wednesday appearance on a radio show hosted by Alaska Independence Party Chairman Bob Bird, Begich said he no longer supports the current version of the federal Hyde Amendment, which allows federal Medicaid funding to pay for abortion. services in cases of rape, incest or if a woman’s life is endangered by pregnancy.
More than one in three Alaskans receives health care through Medicaid.
In Alaska, the state government pays for other abortions that providers have deemed medically necessary. Alaska Supreme Court decisions have guaranteed these payments and abortion rights generally.
Begich’s campaign manager, Truman Reed, said Begich supports allowing abortions in these cases, but opposes federal funding for them.
“Nick’s position has been consistent from the start,” Reed said. “He is pro-life with allowance for mother’s life, incest and rape. He strongly opposes the use of federal funds for abortion services.
Palin said she opposes federal funding for abortion services, but did not explicitly state whether she supports laws allowing abortions for reasons that endanger life, rape or incest.
His campaign website states, “There is never an acceptable excuse for willfully taking a human life, and we must not allow our society to become complicit in such crimes.
Palin’s youngest child, Trig, was born with Down syndrome and was diagnosed before he was born.
“I have a son who has special needs. I was given this option, of course, to end his life before it really began. I was scared to death. It was the biggest challenge I have ever faced,” Palin said in June at the Anchorage Chamber Forum.
Speaking to this audience, she said what seems like a challenge can be an opportunity.
“I know there is a purpose in his life. I know there’s a reason he was born,” she said.
The preferential choice election is on one side of the ballot; on the other, the primary election featuring the 22 candidates for the full term of the United States House.
Voters will be asked to choose a candidate, and the four candidates who receive the most votes will move on to a ranked vote on November 8.
Republican Tara Sweeney missed the special election deadline but is considered likely to be one of four candidates in the regular primary.
Responding to the Beacon’s questionnaire, she said she supports a woman’s right to choose and “would support a direct codification of Roe v. Wade. I don’t believe the federal government should have a role in a woman’s health decisions. This decision is between a woman and her medical provider.
She went on to say that she does not support the use of federal funding for abortions, like Palin and Begich.
Libertarian candidate Chris Bye, also a primary candidate, said he thinks the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v Wade is “good for governance”. This puts the decision on the states, and therefore on the voters, where it should have been all along.
He did not respond to a question asking whether he would vote for a bill that codifies the right to abortion into law, but said contraception and other medications should be available for all people without a doctor’s prescription.