Healthy Wisconsin Plan Would Make Taxpayers Fund Abortion, Despite Claims

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 29, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Healthy Wisconsin Plan Would Make Taxpayers Fund Abortion, Despite Claims Email this article
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by Susan Armacost
August 29, 2007 Note: Susan Armacost is the legislative director for Wisconsin Right to Life.

The Democrats promoting the ‘Healthy Wisconsin’ plan are trying to ‘sell’ it to the public by proclaiming that the plan’s coverage would be the same as the coverage state employees currently receive. However, Wisconsin taxpayers need to know that state employee health insurance includes virtually unrestricted abortion coverage.

State employees currently have a choice of plans from which to choose. In the state employee Standard Plan, all "legal abortions" are expressly covered and paid for by the state. Thus, the Standard Plan for state employees pays for abortions for any reason, at any time during pregnancy and for as many times as state employees and their dependents would choose to have one.

State employees also can choose from several HMO plans. All of the HMO plans use the state employee Uniform Benefits plan which covers "therapeutic abortions."

Because that term is not defined in the Uniform Benefits plan description, Senator Mary Lazich asked the Wisconsin Legislative Council (WLC) what the term "therapeutic abortions" means in regard to the Uniform Benefits plan. Senator Lazich also asked WLC how many abortions have been paid for by the State for persons covered by any of the state employee health insurance plans.

Richard Sweet, a Senior Staff Attorney for WLC, contacted Bob Conlin, the legislative liaison for the Department of Employee Trust Funds (DETF), to get the information requested by Sen. Lazich. After speaking with Mr. Conlin, Mr. Sweet relayed the following information to Sen. Lazich:

– the DETF does not define the term "therapeutic abortion" used in the Uniform Benefits plan.

– the DETF has no information on how many abortions have been paid for by the state for persons covered by any of the health plans for state employees.

Now, let’s get this straight. The State of Wisconsin pays for abortion with no restrictions for state employees in the Standard Plan. And there are virtually no restrictions on paying for abortions under the Uniform Benefits plan because of the term ‘therapeutic abortions,’ which can be interpreted to cover all abortions.

The reason this interpretion can be made is that "therapeutic abortion" typically covers an abortion for the mother’s "health."

"Health" in the abortion context was defined by the U.S. Supreme Court in Doe v. Bolton to be "the medical judgment that may be exercised in light of all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age — relevant to the well being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health."

In other words, an abortion for "health" permits abortion for any reason whatsoever and is tantamount to abortion on demand.

We also find it unbelievable that the state has absolutely no idea how many abortions they pay for. You’d think that since the money used to pay for these abortions originated from the taxpayer that there would be some semblance of accountability.

This is truly shocking. It is bad enough that the state is currently paying for the abortions of state employees and their dependents with no apparent oversight. But the situation under ‘Healthy Wisconsin’ would be far worse.

If ‘Healthy Wisconsin’ is adopted, it would be the only health insurance plan available to most Wisconsin citizens. Taxpayers would be forced to pay for the abortions of any woman, for any reason, at any time during pregnancy for as many times a woman would choose to have one. It’s time for Wisconsin taxpayers to wake up and see the reality of what the Democrats in Madison are proposing.