Tennessee Becomes Second State to Stop Abortion Funding in Health Care

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 5, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Tennessee Becomes Second State to Stop Abortion Funding in Health Care

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 5
, 2010

Nashville, TN (LifeNews.com) — Tennessee became the second state today to stop at least some of the abortion funding in the national health care bill President Barack Obama signed. Arizona was the first state to have its bill signed into law and now, Governor Phil Bredesen let the Tennessee bill become law without his signature.

Without comment, Bredesen refused to sign legislation barring abortion as a funded benefit in new federally mandated health care exchanges. Since he did not issue a veto, the protective policy takes effect immediately.

Tennessee law allows the governor to sign a bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.

Sponsored by pro-life Rep. Matthew Hill and pro-life Sen. Diane Black, the new law says: "No health care plan required to be established in this state through an exchange pursuant to federal health care reform legislation enacted by the 111th Congress shall offer coverage for abortion services."

HB 2681 / SB 2686 passed the state House 70-23 and the state Senate 27-3.

Tennessee’s General Assembly was the nation’s first to pass legislation making clear that abortion would not be included as a benefit in federally required health care exchanges. Arizona, Mississippi and Florida have since followed suit and bills at governors’ desks in the latter two states while several other states are working on legislation.

Tennessee Right to Life has praised legislators for their work this session to protect human life, particularly leadership of both the state House and state Senate.

“Pro-life citizens around the state are grateful to our new House Speaker, Kent Williams, for making the protection of life a priority, just as he said he would,” president of the pro-life group, told LifeNews.com today. “And without the principled counsel and leadership of Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, this session’s victories for life would never have been realized."

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. HB 2681 will keep any insurance plans on the Tennessee exchange from offering abortion coverage.

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.

Passage of the ‘abortion opt out’ bill follows easy passage this session of bills removing priority status from the Tennessee Planned Parenthood abortion business — redirecting family planning funds to local health departments which do not perform abortions.

Other bills required posting of the state’s non-coercion policy in private offices and facilities which perform abortions, and the legislature saw the first passage of SJR 127, a resolution requiring a public vote in 2014 to make the Tennessee Constitution neutral once again on the matter of abortion.

Related web sites:
Tennessee Right to Life – https://www.tnrtl.org

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