Ruling allows nurse practitioners in Alaska to prescribe abortion pills


Nesbett Courthouse in downtown Anchorage. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

An Alaska Superior Court judge has issued a preliminary injunction overturning part of a state law that limits who can perform abortions.

Judge Josie Garton issued a ruling on Tuesday that allows non-physician health care providers, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, to provide medication to induce an abortion.

The case was brought by Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky. The organization filed a lawsuit in 2019 against a law that prohibits anyone other than a licensed doctor from performing abortions.

Alaska is one of many states that have laws that only certified doctors can perform abortions. Proponents say they help prevent unsafe abortions.

Planned Parenthood argues that this concern is outdated, especially now that nurse practitioners and other non-physicians are already prescribing pills to help women following a miscarriage that are the same ones doctors prescribe to induce an abortion.

The injunction only applies to medical abortions. The case will go to trial, scheduled for July.

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