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Virginia Votes to Stop Abortion Funding in Obamacare Exchange

by Steven Ertelt | Richmond, VA | LifeNews.com | 4/3/13 5:20 PM

State

After a terse debate in the Virginia House, members of the Assembly voted today to stop taxpayer funding of abortions in the Obamacare exchange.

The amendment received the approval of 55 members of the House and the state Senate followed suit passing the bill.

Last week, Governor Bob McDonnell put forward a pro-life amendment that pro-life groups, including the Family Foundation and Virginia Society for Human Life has been urging. This amendment prohibits health insurance plans that are part of federal health insurance exchanges required by Obamacare from covering abortion services except in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother. The amendment is to HB 1900 and SB 921, bills regarding state oversight of health exchanges. Without the governor’s amendment, pro-life citizens opposed to abortion will be mandated to fund this unethical destruction of human life.

“The amendment simply continues what has been state law for the proposed exchanges since 2011 when the General Assembly adopted a similar amendment. Because the state has chosen not to create a state exchange but instead force the federal government to do so, the amendment is necessary. Twenty states have already taken this step and more are considering it. Despite the rhetoric of the abortion industry, private insurers can continue to offer elective abortion plans outside the exchanges if they wish,” the Family Foundation explained.

McDonnell’s proposed amendment reads as follows:

“No qualified health insurance plan that is sold or offered for sale through an exchange established or operating in the Commonwealth shall provide coverage for abortions, regardless of whether such coverage is provided through the plan or is offered as a separate optional rider thereto …”

In 2011 the state General Assembly voted to prohibit abortion coverage in any insurance policies sold under any state-based insurance exchange set up under ObamaCare. Virginia has opted to operate under a federal exchange.

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“Governor McDonnell has always maintained a pro-life stance,” said Jeff Caldwell, a spokesman for McDonnell. “These amendments continue a policy established by the General Assembly in 2011 when it passed initial legislation to govern the possibility of a state-run health exchange. While Virginia has now notified the federal government that it will participate in a federal exchange, the policy toward restricting federal funding from paying for abortions as part of this exchange has not changed.”

“VSHL is pleased that Gov. McDonnell is proposing these amendments, which reflect what the majority of Virginians and Americans think is correct regarding abortion funding,” said VSHL President Olivia Gans Turner.