June 24, 2022

Press Release: Roe Reversal Makes Alaska’s Next Governor Last Line of Defense

Gara and Cook are the Only Pro-Choice Team on the Gubernatorial Ticket

Anchorage, AK – Today the U.S. Supreme Court set women’s rights back 50 years when the Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade. The opinion leaves a woman’s right to choose up to states.
“This decision puts a woman’s right to make her own health decisions front and center in Alaska’s race for governor,” said Les Gara, Alaska’s only pro-choice candidate on the gubernatorial ticket. “Alaska law will become the last line of defense for a woman’s right to make her own private health decisions. As Alaska’s next governor, I will do everything within my power to defend that right, just as I did when I served in Alaska’s State House of Representatives.”
While other candidates have stated that their own personal views on choice are not relevant to the future of the issue, Gara firmly states that Alaska’s next governor’s views will shape the future of this issue for generations to come.
“The next governor will appoint at least two justices because two sitting justices will reach the mandatory retirement age of seventy. If you have a governor who is not steadfast in their defense of women’s rights, then those rights are absolutely at risk,” said Gara. “We’ve seen it happen just now at the federal level with the reversal of Roe. It would be very naïve to think that the exact same thing couldn’t happen here in Alaska.  Our future justices have the power to reverse Alaska’s court precedent on abortion, so although that right is currently protect, that protection rests on the interpretation of our constitution by future, newly-appointed judges.”
Gara outlined three concrete steps he would take as governor to ensure that right is protected stating: “I’ll ask future judicial candidates to see if they’ll follow prior Alaska caselaw protecting choice. I’ll veto anti-choice legislation, and I’ll never appoint an Attorney General who’ll try to roll back a woman’s right to choose.”
All of Gara’s opponents have stated they oppose a woman’s right to choose and their actions back up these statements. Governor Dunleavy joined the radical Texas lawsuit to ban a woman’s right to choose. Governor Walker sued in 2015 to restrict Medicaid coverage of abortion, seeking to roll back Alaska Supreme Court precedent. In 2019 the Alaska Supreme Court ruled against this challenge, noting it had already ruled in favor of Medicaid coverage in prior court precedentAnd on the campaign trail has stated that he would not screen justices for their views on Alaska’s pro-choice court precedent.
Gara’s running mate, Jessica Cook also issued a statement saying: “Like most of Alaskans, I’m appalled that the Supreme Court has taken this personal decision out of the hands of women and placed it in the hands of government. This is wrong. I’m proud to be part of a team that is commitment to protecting the rights of Alaska’s women. Today’s decision clearly demonstrates what can happen when radical justices are seated on a high court. We can’t allow this to happen in Alaska, and Les is the only pro-choice candidate for Governor who is willing to fight to make sure it doesn’t happen here.”