Mississippi Sends Bill to Ban Abortion Funding in Health Care to Governor Barbour
by Steven Ertelt
April 28, 2010
Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — Mississippi today became the latest state to send a bill to its governor that would allow the state to opt out of the abortion funding in the health care law President Barack Obama signed. The state follows Arizona and Tennessee in having the legislature give such a pro-life bill final approval.
The Mississippi House voted 88-25 Wednesday to remove a procedural hold on the bill and allow it to go to Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, who will likely sign it into law.
Backers of the bill say they want to make sure none of the money the state would authorize under the health care bill when it goes into effect in 2014 would pay for abortions.
Senate Appropriations Chair and first district congressional candidate Alan Nunnelee was the main sponsor of the legislation.
"The Legislature of the State of Mississippi finds that Section 1303 of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, states are explicitly permitted to pass laws prohibiting qualified health plans offered through an exchange in their state from offering abortion cove," the bill says. "It is the purpose of this act to affirmatively opt out of allowing qualified health plans that cover abortions to participate in exchanges within the State of Mississippi."
"No abortion coverage may be provided by a qualified health plan offered through an exchange created pursuant to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act within the State of Mississippi," it continues.
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.
Terri Herring of PLAN for Mississippi told LifeNews.com that she applauded Nunnelee and said he "took the lead in the state Senate and is long time friend of pro-life efforts."
"House friends held the line unlike [Congressman Bart] Stupak and refused to adjourn with majority vote until bill was voted out," she added.
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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