JUNEAU — Nenana Republican Rep. Alan Dick has apologized for comments he made a week ago suggesting women should get signed permission from the father of a fetus before having an abortion.
His original comments quickly caught fire online, drawing hundreds to sound off on the “Alan for Alaska” Facebook page. Many women have called Dick’s office to voice their disapproval, causing the representative to backpedal this week.
“Last week in a committee hearing on funding of abortions, I made a less than artful comparison,” he wrote in a statement. “I have received several phone calls from women who were offended. I’ve listened to what they said. I realize how what I said could be taken to be hurtful — it was for the women who called — and I apologize.”
The freshman representative, who has a penchant for off-the-cuff statements, floated the controversial idea last week during a Health and Social Services Committee meeting on state funding for abortions for low-income women.
Dick questioned whether a pregnancy, and the choice to end it, should belong solely to a woman. After all, he said, men have to pay for a child for 18 years.
“Yet if the woman chooses not to carry the child, all of a sudden it’s her individual personal choice,” he said. “I don’t think it’s really her pregnancy because it’s their pregnancy. And, if anything, the decision to have an abortion should be made not only by the woman but the man who is also involved. … If I thought that a man’s signature was required in order for a woman to have an abortion, I’d have a little more peace about it.”
Dick also made other statements during the hearing, including a suggestion to require a board of three doctors to determine if an abortion is necessary. None of Dick’s suggested anti-abortion provisions are part of any bill in the Legislature.
In terms of his position, though, Dick said he’s still unapologetically opposed to abortion but will be more careful about what he says in the future.
“I have reconsidered my thoughts in light of the comments from those who called and will be more careful in how I phrase my thoughts in the future,” he said.
Rep. Alan Dick's statement:
“Last week in a committee hearing on funding of abortions, I made a less than artful comparison. I apologize for my comment. I’m pro-life and my position on abortion is public. Sometimes things that we say while discussing sensitive issues could be said better, and when it comes to our attention that something we said has offended someone, I believe the right thing to do is to acknowledge the mistake and apologize.
I have received several phone calls from women who were offended. I’ve listened to what they said. I realize how what I said could be taken to be hurtful — it was for the women who called — and I apologize. I was trying to make a point that if the law makes a man responsible (and rightly so) for a child he has fathered, it might also require that he be informed before a decision is made to terminate the life of his unborn child. I have reconsidered my thoughts in light of the comments from those who called and will be more careful in how I phrase my thoughts in the future.”
For more updates from the 2012 legislative session follow staff writer Matt Buxton on Twitter at @FDNMpolitics or contact him at 459-7544.