Mississippi Legislators Want Bill to Opt Out of Abortion Funding in Health Care

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 27, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mississippi Legislators Want Bill to Opt Out of Abortion Funding in Health Care

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 27
, 2010

Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — Legislators in Mississippi nearly joined those in Arizona and Tennessee in getting a bill to the governor that would opt the state of out of some of the abortion funding in the new health care law. The bill President Barack Obama signed into law contains massive abortion financing with tax dollars.

On Saturday, the Mississippi House almost sent to the governor its bill to help shield taxpayers from paying for at least some of the abortion funding.

Lawmakers voted 75-32 for the measure, but Rep. Rufus Straughter, a Democrat, held the bill on a procedural motion that could allow more debate. As a result, the House must vote tomorrow on final passage on the legislation before it can get to pro-life Gov. Haley Barbour, who is expected to sign it.

"I don’t think our current law speaks to this," said Rep. Toby Barker about the need to pass the bill.

Rep. John Hines, a Jackson Democrat, was among the pro-abortion lawmakers to oppose the measure. Even though it only had to do with making state residents pay for abortions, she argued it on grounds the bill would make abortions illegal.

"I think every woman in this state should be offended that grown men who can’t get pregnant are telling them what they can do with their bodies," she said, according to an AP report.

Rep. Alyce Clarke, another Jackson Democrat, went further and asked lawmakers to imagine what would happen if they got a woman pregnant.

"If that woman got pregnant, would you want her to have that baby?"
"You know how it goes, and I know how it goes," Clarke said. "I ask you just to be true to yourself when you push that button."

Republican lawmaker Alan Nunnelee introduced the bill in the Senate to opt Mississippi out of the abortion funding. Billy Hewes and Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant also strongly supported the legislation, which easily passed in the Senate.

As pro-life advocates in Tennessee wait for Governor Bredesen to decide if he will sign the bill there into law, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer wasted little time signing her state’s version.

The legislation has the states 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 state exchanges from offering abortion coverage.

Last week, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen 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 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.

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