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Friday, January 28, 2022

Gov. Sean Parnell Inherits Flaming Pants from Palin & Denies Children Health Care

Governor Sean Parnell, who has framed himself as an advocate for women and children, last week vetoed a bipartisan bill passed by the Alaska Legislature that would have provided health care for 1300 Alaskan children and prenatal care to more than 200 pregnant Alaskan women. These, most vulnerable Alaskans are those that fall between 175% and 200% of the federally recognized poverty level. Those that fall below that level are already covered by the state program, called Denali KidCare.

What made the governor decide to veto the bill? He just discovered, he said, that some of the money allocated would go to fund abortions, and as soon as he discovered this, he immediately withdrew his support for the measure. The abortions to which the governor refers are those deemed medically necessary by a woman’s doctor. For instance, if a woman has kidney disease, or diabetes, or other conditions that seriously risk her health, which mean that she cannot safely bring a pregnancy to term. Allowing these medically necessary abortions to occur would be a worse thing, says Sean Parnell, than saving these women, and also providing critical prenatal care for hundreds of families, and basic health care for thousands of Alaskan children that are already here, or yet to come.

What says the governor? His spokeswoman, Sharon Leighow, a holdover from the Palin administration said:

…the governor had been aware of the state being required by the courts to fund abortion. But he didn’t know until recently funds from Denali KidCare in particular were going for that purpose, she said. When he found out he dropped his support for expansion of the program, she said.

“He was made aware of it recently and he changed his stance,” Leighow said.

To which we resurrect another old holdover from the Palin administration:

The Flaming Pants

Turns out that Governor Parnell (who used to be State Senator Parnell) not only DID realize that all state sponsored health services including Medicare and Denali KidCare funded medically necessary abortions for poor women, but the fact that he knew was recorded in the minutes of Senate Finance Committee meetings, and he voted for it anyway.  His staunch “not a penny for an abortion regardless of the life of the mother” ideology is apparently a recent, and decidedly political development.

Senator Johnny Ellis, Senator Bettye Davis, Democratic candidate for governor Senator Hollis French and Senator Bill Wielechowski held a press conference outside the office of the governor in Anchorage this week, complete with giant copies of the meeting minutes in question, so all could see.

In a meeting, Senator Parnell had a conversation with an Assistant Attorney General in which she told him:

“…even though it’s permissible in some states to limit the availability of abortion funding under the federal constitution test, Alaska’s constitution contains explicit privacy protection that has been interpreted as providing more protection for individual liberties than the privacy rights under the federal constitution… Reproductive rights are fundamental in Alaska, that they are encompassed within our privacy provision…”

It’s reasonable to assume that Mr. Parnell understood exactly what that meant, since he is also an attorney.

So, what happened? The legislation was passed limiting abortions, and it was challenged to the Supreme Court just like the Attorney General told the folks there it would be, and eventually our court, on July 27, 2001 issued an opinion and the next day it was front page news in the [Anchorage] Daily News. Saturday, July 28 2001, front page news. [snip] And I suspect he read the story just like everybody else did in Anchorage that morning, and here is what the front page news said:


The Alaska Supreme Court ruled unanimously Friday that a state regulation barring payment for medically necessary abortions for poor women is unconstitutional. The five justices unanimously found that selective denial of abortions violates the state’s constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The decision written by Chief Justice Dana Fabe means that the state must now fund medically recommended abortions just as it funds any other condition covered by Alaska’s medical programs for the poor.

That’s exactly the state of the law, and it’s been the state of the law since 2001. And the Governor, I believe, has to explain in greater detail how it is that he can possibly be unaware that medically necessary abortions are funded by Medicaid, by Denali KidCare, by any state funded medical care. [snip] He supported Senator Davis’ bill all the way through the process… all the way through the process until the political season came upon us, and I believe that now what we’re seeing is politics playing out in a very ugly way in Alaska – denying health care coverage… basic health care coverage to 1200 children and over 200 women. That’s why we’re here protesting today.

At a prayer vigil earlier in the week, Democratic candidate for governor Ethan Berkowitz spoke to Sean Cockerham of the Anchorage Daily News:

If the issue for Parnell was really abortion he would have vetoed all the Denali KidCare funding,  Berkowitz said. “It’s inconsistent to say, ‘up to 175 percent of poverty it’s OK to have access to full services, but between 175 and 200 percent it isn’t. So he’s cherry picked here and that to me is wrong, because there are 1,300 kids who are going to be impacted here,” he said.

At the behest of Hollis French, Senate President Gary Stevens polled senators to gauge willingness to call themselves into special session to override the governor’s veto. The majority of senators were willing, but fell short of the 2/3 majority necessary to call a session. 11 were in favor, 9 were opposed, with the exact breakdown of who voted for what remaining unavailable.

Parnell said that in vetoing the $3 million that he was following his conscience.

“My intention here today is to make sure we don’t expand state government funding of abortions here in Alaska,” he said.

What kind of conscience deliberately denies parents the ability to care for the health of their children born and unborn, in favor of political posturing before an election?  One that denies thousands of children the ability to see a doctor, all to prevent a few medically necessary abortions. I think that’s what you call throwing a whole lot of babies out with the ideological bath water.

Governor Parnell has refused to call a special session on this issue, and the recycled Sharon Leighow reports to the Juneau Empire that the governor’s office, as of Sunday, has received 227 emails in support of vetoing the bill, and 150 “expressing concern.”

The governor’s spokeswoman did not mention how many phone calls of support vs. phone calls “expressing concern” there were. I find it difficult to believe that only 150 Alaskans have issue with denying these services to children and pregnant women. But since the governor’s office is offering up only the email statistic, here is the contact form for the governor’s office where you may email and take your daily dose of Vitamin Democracy—> CLICK


~Senators Johnny Ellis, Bettye Davis, Hollis French and Bill Wielechowski

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No Responses to “Gov. Sean Parnell Inherits Flaming Pants from Palin & Denies Children Health Care”
  1. kiksadi50 says:

    I would like to encourage everyone who reads this letter to write a letter or email to Parnell’s office protesting his decision to support the movement to repeal the health care Reform Act & underfund the Denali Kid Care program. I heard a representative from Parnell’s office speak in Sitka recently. This rep. stated that Parnell, as a survivor of domestic violence himself was dedicated to supporting the movement to end violence against women, children and families in Alaska. Now his administration is spending millions to fight health care reform & the Denali kid care program, two programs desperately needed by thousands of victims of daily, life threatening violence. Please write his office & ask at least one friend or family member to do the same. Grass roots movements, especially in Alaska, do work.

  2. anonymous says:

    Does anyone know what Ralph Samuel’s stance is on abortion? Would he pull a Sean? Either Ethan or Hollis will win the Democratic vote and now that Bob is out of the race, I don’t care which one gets in. (I thought that Bob Poe stood above both parties.) I’d like to see Sean not have a chance at the governor’s seat so I, not having a party and undeclared, will probably support Ralph. If Sean wins, will he blame the ex guv or his own actions? That he has failed to distinguish himself as his own person since taking over contributes to me doing this, but the denying of healthcare based on abortion because HE JUST NOW REALIZED. . . just p—es me off. If he is concerned about his Christianity and conscious, why doesn’t he start out by not lying? He could have just not increased it because he has to make cuts someplace, and there it is. His obvious plea for TeaBagger votes is bad, bad, bad.

    I don’t like abortion, but there are cases where it is medically neccessary. I would have an abortion if I had an aggressive cancer that required that I chose between having a chance at life and my unborn baby not having a mother– or my kids who are alive not having a mother. I’d live with the sadness and hate myself and love my kids. The women who make that decision don’t do so lightly.

  3. Desa Jacobsson says:

    If Captain Zero is an advocate for womena and children, then I’m the Merry Christmas Barbie.

    His dispicable ” Choose Respect” plan provides only a slap on the wrist for predators and allows law enforcement in communities within TEN YEARS.

    His loyalty is to the oil companies, Focus on the Family and McQuittyPants.

  4. jen_jay says:

    Wow, deja vu.

  5. Baker's Dozen says:

    He is a pig. Pass him the lip stick.

  6. Sourdough Mullet says:

    I wrote him a polite but pointed and somewhat scathing letter over a week ago. Reminded him that he vowed (with his hand on the bible) to uphold State Law and the State Constitution.
    When Denali Kid Care was challenged in the State Supreme Court over these monies being used for medically necessary abortions, The Court ruled that indigent Alaskans must be guaranteed equal access to these services. Perhaps he’s in the wrong line of business if he wants to preach his personal religious beliefs instead of supporting the law and the legal rights of all Alaskans, as he vowed to do as Governor.

  7. E of Anc P says:

    I e-mailed and asked the Governor to rethink his veto of the bill when I heard he might veto the additional Denali Kid Care. When I heard he did indeed veto it, I wrote my Senator asking if there wasn’t a way to over ride the veto. I questioned the reason, abortion, for taking away health care from the children and mothers when the decision for a medically needed abortion should be between the mother, doctor, partner, and God.

    It just doesn’t make sense for him to deny care for all those children and the mothers’ pregnancy care. Prenatal care is so important. I am so sad those that voted on the bill wouldn’t come back to override the veto. Hopefully something can be done later. I guess we have a vote coming up.

    • beth says:

      “… the decision for a medically needed abortion should be between the mother, doctor, partner, and God.”

      I’m having great trouble with that statement, E of Anc P. I would argue the decision to have an abortion –or not!– is the woman’s and the woman’s alone. She does not have to be alone in arriving at the decision she ultimately makes, but, in the end, it is –and can only be!– *her* decision.

      She should make her decision in consultation with her doctor, she should be educated/informed about the medical procedure, about its pros and cons in regards *her* situation, and she should make *her* decision accordingly. She has a right to not be scared or coerced –one way or the other– into making *her* decision; she should be afforded respect and factual, unbiased, judgement-free information. She should, ideally, consult with her doctor(s), yes!, but the final decision is hers.

      Likewise her partner — if she feels so inclined, then yes, discuss it with the partner…if *not*, if she (for whatever reason), does *not* wish to ‘consult’ her partner, that is *her* decision, as well. Whether she has a partner or not, is ultimately immaterial; it is *her* body, *her* decision.

      I would further argue that whether she ‘believes in’ a “higher power” –or not–, is also immaterial. I have never met a woman who has had an abortion (or who has thought about having one) who did *not* first have a serious ‘conversation’ with her conscience…be that conscience ‘named’ G_d, or Yaw_h, or All_h, or The Unknown, or her own name, or some other name. To have, or not have, an abortion, is *her* decision; it is *her* body*; it is between her and her ‘conscience’ and there should not be, there must *not* be, any caveats on, or impediments to, what *she* decides.

      Sorry for the rant, but I feel most passionate about a woman’s right –by law!– to have the final say-so in what happens to *her* body; her right –by law!– to be *totally* in control of what happens to *her* body. Every time I hear of someone wanting to add ‘conditions’ to her having that right, I see red; would ‘we’ add ‘conditions’ to any other medical procedure…or do ‘we’ only add them to procedures performed on women… Does a woman, all of a sudden, lose ALL intelligence when she becomes impregnated; is she suddenly completely incapable of making sound, informed, rational decisions about *her* body? It boggles my mind that women are shown so little respect when it comes to *their* bodies!

      OK – I’m done now. beth.

  8. leenie17 says:

    Two words for your esteemed governor: pond scum.

  9. seattlefan says:

    Flaming Pant Syndrome is alive and well I see. How has he responded to this? Has your local media called him out? Keep him honest AKM and Alaskans citizens.

  10. OzMud says:

    I do not now, have never and will never understand how people who are so diabolically opposed to ‘destroying life’ they need to protect a 12 hour-old under-developed fetus barely the size of a pinhead, have no problem whatsoever with the consequence of permanently debilitating, maiming or killing the woman carrying it.

    If left to the control of the fanatic-right, this century will return to the practices of fifty to a hundred years ago where charleton doctors performed illegal, unclean abortions in cheap motel rooms, leaving their patients to bleed-out rather than be caught, and young girls tried to induce miscarriages by falling down stairs, drinking cleaning fluids or shoving wire coat hangers into their vaginas.

    How can the modern Christian ethic of ‘protecting life’ only apply to an unborn, human fetus? Why are living, breathing women deemed less valuable?

    A woman has a right to protect her own body, however she sees fit and regardless of another’s religious belief. How ironic that Gov. Parnell should insist his government interfere with her decisions to do just that.

  11. AK Raven says:

    I sent this e-mail to the Gov Light.

    How could you deny medical benefits to poor kids and their mothers? How could you deny help to women who need a medically necessary abortion? I will certainly be campaigning for your opponent. Thank you for making my reason clear.

    • LoveMyDogs says:

      Mine wasn’t even close to being that nice. It ended with

      What are you thinking???? You seem to be using this to make political points. You haven’t made one with me and I will not be voting for you.

  12. tallimat says:

    Sniff, sniff… what is that smell?

    Oh, I know. It is a little court case about religious beliefs-public officer-wide financial cuts cause of your religious beliefs=big no no…

    If he ever shows up for a debate, once asked about this, I suspect he’ll race around the question. Or he will respond via eluding to some make work program for the state AG’s office. Heck I wouldn’t be suprised if WAR is already on contract to fight the cause.

    • ks sunflower says:

      Good point. He forgets abortions are legal. They are also often medically necessary.

      Is he pro-death for the mother whose health is endangered? Creepy. Is he for funding for orphans or adoptions? Where does he stand for foster care? Is he for tax credits for the father left with children to care for but must work and has no family to care for the kids left without mothers?

      I just don’t get how “pro-lifers” can so easily push aside all the others to focus only on a potential life. Why isn’t it important to take care of children who are already here and in need of medical care? Crazy priorities.

  13. Dagian says:

    Hmm…does governorship automatically confer stupidity and invertebrate status?

    I bet you anything that he’s really skeeved with the whole “lamestream media”. Hahaha.

  14. Bones AK says:

    I sent my email also, too! Also added veto of alternate energy funding and separation of church and state.

  15. fishingurl says:

    Barbara Bush in favor of gay marraige and abortion:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/richard-adams-blog/2010/may/12/laura-bush-gay-marriage-abortion

    • I think the article says that it is Laura Bush, not Barbara. I’m not terrible surprised that her views are different than George W. I think it’s interesting that she was asked some pretty pointed questions by Katie Couric on the morning of W’s inauguration and she didn’t throw a fit about gotcha questions, unlike SP.

      I always did like Laura better than her husband. Too bad she didn’t speak up while she was First Lady. Better late than never, I guess.

      • Attagirl says:

        This is the daughter of George and Laura…it appears that at least one member of the Bush family has the guts to speak her mind.

  16. fishingurl says:

    I’ll say it again. The only people that should be talking about availability of abortions are the people that HAVE HAD THEM!

  17. TBnak says:

    Again, Parnell shows he’s talking the talk & not walking the walk. His so-called focus on valuing healthy Alaskan families only seems to get lip service when it serves him. Denali Kid Care is a victim of his red pen & now it seems his true convictions are being shown on another front. Parnell’s administration is currently crafting it’s plan to comply with the new health care bill & instead of allowing the coverage of our children who are under 26 as soon as possible, which they can do if they chose to, they are waiting until they absolutely have to which won’t be until July of 2011. This directly affects 2 of my kids who are still in school, working part-time & too old (over 23) to currently be covered under the current state health policy. I am a single mom & pay the same for my health plan as a family of 6 utilizes yet I cannot cover my 2 kids. They cannot afford to buy health coverage on their own so their “health insurance coverage” is either the ER or me. I have a big problem with that & so do they. (And BTW, we ALL vote!)

  18. anadventurer says:

    Email sent

  19. LoveMydogs says:

    e-mail sent, now it is off to work I go.

  20. hedgewytch says:

    It’s my poker guess that Parnell is going to inherit the wrath of those voters that are plain disgusted with Palin, including the dissillusioned Tea Bag/Palinbots, and see him for what he is, Palin in pants. Maybe if he got a breast job…….

  21. LoveMydogs says:

    Oh AKM, There you go again, releasing the “hounds”….now I am off to send my e-mail to express not only “my concerns” but my complete disgust at this veto. Then it is off to work to hear my boss say “I don’t want to have to pay for abortions”. To which my response is…”I don’t want to have to pay for bombs and airplanes to commit war on civilians in other countries” as well as “what about paying for unhealthy children born into a family where perhaps the mother has died bringing the baby to full term?” Idiots.

    • ks sunflower says:

      I admire your courage. Most people would get fired voicing contrary opinions. Most folks just keep things to themselves, but, you know, from other posts you’ve done,you have demonstrated that you are not “most folks” because your big heart, keen intellect and strength to stand up for what you believe. More power to you!

      BTW, I agree with your response.

  22. ks sunflower says:

    Thanks for this article, AKM. This is what makes your blog so valuable.

    Reminding the politicians what their own history on an issue is turns out to be a powerful tool to unmask their hypocrisy and their lack of integrity. No small wonder that your blog is rated as one of the best in the nation.

  23. Michelle says:

    It’s pretty hard to keep family values when there aren’t any that survived.
    What a waste of air Pan-handle Parnell is… a never ending sinkhole of corruption and lies.