Dunleavy talks constitutional convention, Roe v. Wade in Ketchikan

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The Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, a major step in the ongoing debates around the right to abortion.

KRBD’s Raegan Miller sat down for an interview with Governor Dunleavy last week before the decision was made. He is running for re-election this fall.

A week before the ruling, the Alaska governor said the state constitution protects the right to abortion in the state. Some abortions were protected in Alaska even before the death of Roe v. Wade in 1973.

So if Roe v. Wade had to go, it wouldn’t make much 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.

Candidates running against Dunleavy in the upcoming gubernatorial race are against a constitutional convention. Democratic candidate Les Gara is openly pro-choice and says he is opposite to the prospect. His running mate, Jessica Cook, is also pro-choice.

Independent Bill Walker is pro-life and his running mate, Heidi Drygas is pro-choice. In a press release, the team said it opposed holding a constitutional convention.

Dunleavy said he trusts the Alaskans to make that decision.

“I have great faith in the people of Alaska, and if the people of Alaska choose to have a constitutional convention, I am confident that whatever points they wish to work on, the results will be consistent with what people expect and want,” he said.

If that happens, Dunleavy said he expects there will be plenty of talking points. He said the state constitution had not been reviewed in its entirety since 1959.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of things they want to look at, from land ownership to how courts are selected, I mean everything else,” Dunleavy said. “So I imagine everything would be looked into.”

But it all depends on whether voters want to hold a convention and Dunleavy isn’t sure they will.

“If they don’t want it, I have to accept that they are content with the constitutional arrangement that we have now,” he said.

But he says if a convention is called, he thinks there will be positive results.

Raegan Miller is a member of the Report for America body for KRBD. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps him keep writing stories like this. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution at KRBD.org/donate.

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