Republican Party Chair Defends Dropping Employee Abortion Insurance Coverage

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 23, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Republican Party Chair Defends Dropping Employee Abortion Insurance Coverage

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 23
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The chairman of the national Republican Party is defending his decision earlier this month to drop coverage for elective abortions from its insurance coverage. Michael Steele says he made the decision as soon as he was informed that a decades-old policy allowed coverage.

The GOP had covered abortions since 1991 under its policy with Cigna, although there is no evidence that anyone ever used the policy to pay for one.

He said today there is "no hypocrisy" in dropping the coverage and added that it actually shows a party that is consistent with its pro-life platform on abortion.

Steele’s comments today made it appear that Cigna gave the media misleading information about the policy and he said he is upset Cigna talked about the policy in public.

“We have done some digging into that and it’s not as it appears, as we found out from our insurance carrier,” Steele told CNN’s “American Morning" program. “We’re going to be having further conversation on that point.”

“Cigna should not be talking about our insurance policy,” he said.

Steele also said removing the abortion coverage is consistent with the party’s pro-life track record.

He said the Republican Party has made it very clear, I certainly have as chairman, that we will not cover such elective abortions in our insurance policy.”

“There’s no hypocrisy here,” Steele told CNN, “actually, very consistent.”

“If that was the case, people didn’t know that that was part of the policy,” he added. “We did an investigation, a forensic overview of our policies, as I thought we should do. We found this language and we’ve now fixed the problem.”

The news web site Politico uncovered the coverage earlier this month.

Steele, himself a pro-life former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, said at the time that he would remove the abortion coverage from its employee insurance plan, currently offered thorough Cigna.

"Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose," Steele said in a statement. "I don’t know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled."

The Democratic National Committee, which is the national party for Democrats, provides abortion coverage for its employees and has a platform supporting unlimited abortions funded at taxpayer expense.

The most recent GOP Platform calls abortion "a fundamental assault on innocent human life."

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