Several States Looking at Banning Abortion Funding Under New Health Care Law
by Steven Ertelt
April 8, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Barack Obama signed the new government-run health care bill into law less than three weeks ago. Yet, six states are already moving ahead — and others are expected to join them — in passing legislation to protect taxpayers from being forced to pay for abortions.
The health care law contains massive abortion funding and promotion, but states have the ability to opt out of some of it.
Under the new health care law, states will be in charge of their own health care exchanges that are available for individuals and small businesses starting in 2014. In those exchanges, state’s can ensure tax dollars do no go towards plans or subsidies for plans that pay for abortions.
Lawmakers in Tennessee are voting today on a bill that has already cleared a legislative committee and would keep any insurance plans on the Tennessee exchange from offering abortion coverage at taxpayer expense.
Americans United for Life and other pro-life groups are assisting legislators in other states and dozens may ultimately wind up voting on similar provisions over the coming months and years.
Lawmakers in Oklahoma have introduced a similar bill and, in Mississippi, state Sen. Alan Nunnelee informed the Wall Street Journal he plans a similar bill later this month.
He said the federal language in the bill does not ban abortion funding and that state action is needed to prevent a portion of it.
Missouri state Sen. Scott Rupp is also pushing a bill than ban taxpayer funding of abortion in the exchanges in his state.
Current state law says private insurance plans can’t cover abortion except through special riders and he told the Journal "we had to move over the ban to the exchanges."
Legislators in Kansas have already moved forward with a bill would prohibit insurance companies from automatically covering abortions under their plans except in very rare instances.
Kansans for Life, a statewide pro-life group, strongly supports the measure and told LifeNews.com that, since 1978, abortion has been excluded from standard health care policies in seven other states.
"In 2007, Kansas joined nine other states in freeing their taxpayers from paying for abortion in state employee insurance plans," KFL said. "However, too many private businesses in Kansas remained frustrated that they were unable to offer abortion-free policies to their staff."
Sen. Linda Gray of Arizona is also getting her state into the act and she told the Journal about a bill she introduced that would block entities in Arizona that receive taxpayer funding from covering abortions in the exchanges.
"The federal debate has brought it to attention," she said.
Unless lawsuits from states and other groups overturn the health care law, expect potential battles in all 50 states over the next four years as they attempt to shield their citizens from paying for at least some abortions. The bills can’t stop all of the abortion funding in the new Obama-signed law, but pro-life groups say they will help.
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