Judge Grants Injunction On State Abortion Law

The Associated Press

JUNEAU (AP) — A state court judge has granted a request to allow advanced practice clinicians in Alaska to provide medication abortion while an underlying legal case proceeds. 

Superior Court Judge Josie Garton, in a written order Tuesday, said Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky “has shown that it is likely to succeed on the merits of its claim that prohibiting advanced practice clinicians from providing medication abortion violates patients’ right to privacy under the Alaska Constitution by significantly restricting the availability of abortions in this state without sufficient justification.”

“The law also likely violates patients’ right to equal protection, since it prevents patients seeking abortions from receiving care from advanced practice clinicians that patients experiencing miscarriage may receive from the same providers,” Garton wrote.

The ruling came on an injunction request by Planned Parenthood, which sued nearly two years ago to challenge a state law that dates back decades and limits who can perform abortions. The group also said the Alaska Board of Nursing had rejected requests for advanced practice clinicians to provide aspiration procedures to treat miscarriages.

The case is set for trial in July, where Planned Parenthood “will seek to make this ruling permanent and further expand access for qualified health care professionals to provide not only medication abortion but other safe, early abortion and miscarriage care,” the organization said in a statement.

The injunction sought by the group earlier this year and granted by Garton is to allow advanced practice clinicians to provide medication abortions. That category includes advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants, attorneys for the group said in court documents.

Aaron Sadler, a spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Law, said the department plans “to proceed with the case and defend the statute,” which he said was enacted in 1970. Department attorneys are representing the state in the case.


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At a Glance

(updated 5-18-22)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 11:55 pm Wednesday, May 18.

New cases as of Wednesday: 1,675

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 249,522

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,252

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 3,762

Current Hospitalizations – 44

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "medium.'' Case statistics are as of Wednesday.

Cases in last 7 days – 54

Cumulative Sitka cases – 2,633

Hospitalizations (to date) – 32

Deceased (cumulative) – 6

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.





May 2002

Police blotter: Two juveniles who were seen throwing their belonging at each other were told to stop or face arrest. ... A woman was reported arguing with her husband and friends, all of whom agreed she had been drinking too much. ... A man said he thought a neighbor had his missing cat, but the neighbor showed police his cat and her six kittens. A watch will be kept for the missing cat.


May 2002

 There will not be a commercial herring spawn and help fishery in the Sitka area, Jim Parker, Fish & Game fisheries management biologist, announced.  There’s been good herring spawn but herring haven’t spawned in the macrocystis kelp beds.