Louisiana to Become Fourth State to Opt Out of Abortion Funding in Health Care
by Steven Ertelt
June 14, 2010
Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — Louisiana will become the fourth state to opt out of some of the abortion funding in the national health care bill President Barack Obama signed into law. This morning, the Louisiana Senate passed its opt out bill on a 28-3 margin and pro-life Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to sign it soon.
On Monday, HB 1247, authored by Representative Frank Hoffman and carried on the Senate floor by Senator Gerald Long, passed in the Senate.
While HB 1247 has already passed the House, it must now receive formal concurrence in the House due to changes made in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. Once the House stamps the changes in the next few days, the bill will be sent to Governor Jindal for his expected signature.
Benjamin Clapper, the executive director of the Louisiana Right to Life Federation, told LifeNews.com: "Today, HB 1247 cleared its final major hurdle, and the Louisiana legislature, in accord with our people, have resoundingly sent a message to our nation that abortion is not health care."
He said he is glad Louisiana will become the next state "to opt out of abortion subsidies since the President signed his national health care reform bill into law three short months ago on March 23rd."
"We have helped initiate a growing state-by-state movement declaring that health care reform should not be used to expand abortion," he said.
Opt-out legislation has been signed into law by three states, Arizona, Mississippi, and Tennessee, and is awaiting action from the governor of Missouri. Governors in Oklahoma and Florida vetoed similar legislation.
When Congress passed the government-run health care bill, it did so without any limits on abortion funding and language mandating taxpayer financing of abortion in certain circumstances.
Obama eventually issued a controversial executive order supposedly taking the abortion funding issue off the table.
However, virtually every pro-life group said it would not mitigate the abortion funding because it doesn’t have the effect of law, could be reversed in the future, and because it didn’t tackle much of the abortion funding in the bill. The Obama administration could also ignore the order and not put it in place when the health care law goes into effect.
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 bill will keep any insurance plans on the Louisiana 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.
Dorinda Bordlee, Senior Counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund and a former Louisiana-based pro-life attorney, also commented on passage.
Her group has assisted Louisiana and several other states "in drafting legislation to limit the harm of Obamacare by prohibiting the coverage of elective abortion in health plans included in the future tax-subsidized state exchanges."
Meanwhile, at the Louisiana legislature, the Ultrasound Before Abortion Act, SB 528, will be voted on Wednesday on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Clapper thanked Hoffman, Senator Long, and the Jindal Administration for their dedication to this legislation.
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