The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, a major move in the ongoing debates surrounding the right to an abortion.
Governor Mike Dunleavy talked about the issue with KRBD’s Raegan Miller in Ketchikan last week before the decision was made.
Alaska’s governor said that the state’s constitution protects the right to abortion in the state. Some abortions were protected in Alaska even before Roe v. Wade in 1973.
“So if Roe v. Wade were to go away, it wouldn’t make much of a difference in Alaska,” Dunleavy said.
That could change if a constitutional convention is called. It’s an option on the ballot for voters this fall. And Dunleavy in a press release Friday said he would introduce a resolution for a proposed constitutional amendment.
Dunleavy is running for re-election this fall. Candidates running against him are against holding a constitutional convention. Democratic candidate Les Gara is openly pro-choice and says he’s opposed to the prospect. His running mate, Jessica Cook, also is pro-choice.
Independent Bill Walker is pro-life and his running mate, Heidi Drygas is pro-choice. In a press release, the team stated that they opposed a constitutional convention.
Dunleavy said he trusts Alaskans to make that decision.
“I have a lot of faith in the people of Alaska, and if the people of Alaska choose to have a constitutional convention, I have faith that whatever items they wish to work on, the outcomes will be in line with what the people expect and want,” he said.
If a convention happens, Dunleavy said he expects there to be a lot of topics up for discussion. and thinks there will be positive outcomes. He said the state’s constitution hasn’t been examined in full since 1959.
“I think there’ll be a lot of things they’d want to look at, everything from land ownership to the way the courts are selected, I mean, everything in between,” he said. “So I would imagine everything would be examined.”
In Ketchikan, Dunleavy said that he would accept what voters decided.
“If they don’t want it, I’d have to accept that they’re content with the constitutional arrangement we have now,” he said.
A week later he pushed the issue forward, stating he planned to bring a constitutional amendment before state lawmakers.
Editor’s note: this story has been updated to include information released by Gov. Dunleavy through a Friday press release.
Raegan Miller is a Report for America corps member for KRBD. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution at KRBD.org/donate.