First State Opts Out of Abortion Funding in Health Care Bill Obama Signed

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 20, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

First State Opts Out of Abortion Funding in Health Care Bill Obama Signed

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 20
, 2010

Nashville, TN ( — The first state in the nation has decided to opt out of some of the massive taxpayer funding of abortion found in the new health care law President Barack Obama signed. Governor Phil Bredesen has received a bill that protects taxpayers from paying some of the abortion funding.

Bredesen is a Democrat who supports legal abortions and pro-life advocates in the state are hoping he will be signing the bill.

The measure, if signed, would have Tennessee opting out of using state tax money to pay for abortions in state health care exchanges — though other abortion funding in the government-run health care bill can’t be suppressed by state efforts.

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. The new law will keep any insurance plans on the Tennessee exchange from offering abortion coverage.

"We must take every action possible to protect Tennessee from being a part of a plan that allows for funding abortions," said state Senator Diane Black, a Republican who sponsored the bill.

"We have worked for years to ensure that taxpayer money is not used for abortion services in Tennessee and we must fight back against this overreach of federal power," she added.

Tennessee Right to Life fought for the bill and told today, "Tennessee becomes the first state to opt out of the abortion mandate with similar bills pending in Missouri and Louisiana."

"Tennessee Right to Life expresses great appreciation to the following members of the state Senate who voted to protect human life and Tennessee’s taxpayers," the group added.

Brian Harris, the group’s president, praised Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey along with pro-life stalwarts Diane Black and Jack Johnson.

The Senate voted 27-3 for the bill after the Tennessee state House voted 70-23 for it.

The exchange doesn’t go into effect until 2014 and states are filing lawsuits seeking to stop the pro-abortion health care bill in its other pro-abortion provisions entirety, but states are moving now to exercise their right to opt out of some of the abortion funding.

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.

Related web sites:
Tennessee Right to Life –

* An earlier version of this story indicated the governor had signed the bill, he has only received it but not yet acted on it.

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