Florida Bill Excludes Abortion From ObamaCare, Crist Veto Response

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 6, 2011   |   5:08PM   |   Tallahassee, FL

A new bill filed in the Florida legislature is in response to one former Governor Charlie Crist vetoed last year that would exclude abortion funding from ObamaCare.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Fort Walton Beach, is behind HB 97 that would ensure health insurance policies obtained through the state exchange in Florida created under the ObamaCare law are not allowed to fund abortions with taxpayer funds. States are required to create the exchanges by 2014, unless opponents of the law are successful in repealing it or getting the Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional.

Last year, the Florida state legislature signed off on a bill that prohibited the abortion funding under ObamaCare and also allowed women a chance to see an ultrasound of their baby before a abortion. Crist vetoed the bill, mostly because of the ultrasound measure.

Stephanie Kunkel, executive director of the Florida Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, an abortion business, told Health News Florida the bill is unnecessary because she claims the ObamaCare bill prohibits abortion funding. However, pro-life groups say that’s not the case and they point to three states — Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Maryland — that tried to cover abortions under the high risk health insurance pools until they blew the whistle and forced the Obama administration to back down.

During the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, pro-life Governor Rick Scott ran as a pro-life candidate and Florida Right to Life gave him an “A” grade and recommended him to voters.

“I am pro-life. I believe strongly in the sanctity of human life. I believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned, and as governor, would appoint judges who apply law and not impose their political agenda on the people, which was what was done in 1973 when Roe was wrongly decided,” he said on his web site.

Scott also said he disagreed with Crist’s veto.

“As governor, I would have signed the pro-life ultrasound legislation that has passed both house of the Florida legislature and was vetoed by Charlie Crist for political reasons,” he said. “This important legislation not only demonstrates that abortion is the taking of an innocent human life but also prevents Florida taxpayers from funding abortion through the federal health care plan that recently passed Congress.”

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 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.

Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana have passed similar bills that have already been signed into law by governors in those states and several other states are expected to consider legislation in their upcoming legislative sessions. Governors in Oklahoma and Florida vetoed similar legislation.

In 2006, there were 95,586 abortions performed in Florida.