Alaska state senators Tom Begich and Jesse Kiehl have said the inclusion of surgical abortions by the state’s medical officer Dr. Anne Zink on the list of procedures that could be delayed to conserve medical resources during the COVID-19 pandemic is political. Begich said it undermines the credibility of Dr. Zink and asked that this provision be retracted.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday Zink said the health and wellness of all Alaskans is her focus, “and honestly, that’s a really hard job in a setting of a world pandemic with a lack of supplies. And l really try to stay out of the political aspect of it and stay 100% focused on the health aspect of it.”
The state issued an update on Tuesday to a mandate released last month that requires non-urgent or elective procedures to be postponed for 3 months or cancelled in order to preserve personal protective equipment for health care workers and patient care supplies. Surgical abortion procedures are to be postponed unless the health of the mother is endangered according to the update.
State health Commisioner Adam Crum said the wording leaves room for “professional judgment” on the timeframe. Gov. Mike Dunleavy has denied politics were involved.