Virginia Senate Kills Bill to Cut Abortion Funds in Obamacare

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 17, 2011   |   4:29PM   |   Richmond, VA

The Senate Education and Health Committee is typically the place where pro-life bills go to die and the panel gave a slate of pro-life bills the same outcome today after holding a hearing.

The measures the Senate panel killed include pro-life bills to regulate abortion facilities and set up a framework for parents to sue someone who caused the death of their unborn child.

But a third measure, which has seen considerable success across the country, would have ensured that no state taxpayer funding of abortions could have occurred in the state health care exchanges set up under the new federal Obamacare health care law.

Americans United for Life staff counsel Mary Harned lobbied the committee for the bill to ensure no taxpayer funding of abortions under health care. She urged the Commonwealth to opt out of a part of President Obama’s Health Care plan which presently allows insurance plans that cover abortion to participate in state exchanges.

Harned made her comments, noting, “70 percent of Americans – both pro-life and pro-choice – do not want to see tax dollars going to pay for abortions or abortion coverage.”

“The Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for unfettered and taxpayer-funded access to abortion, confirms that more women have abortions when they are covered by public programs,” she said. “Given that more women have abortions when they are covered by public programs, and public or private insurance coverage of a procedure generally leads to increased usage of that procedure, there is a high probability that the incidence of abortion in Virginia would increase with the subsidization of private insurance plans that cover abortions.”

As it has in previous years, the Virginia state Senate Education and Health Committee killed bills earlier this month that would give legal status to “unborn children,” help women find abortion alternatives and regulate abortion centers.

The bills included Senate Bill 1202 to ensure health insurance companies under Obamacare can’t pay for abortions with taxpayer dollars, Senate Bill 1207 would have protected unborn children, Senate Bill 1217 would have helped stopped forced and pressured abortions, and Senate Bill 1435 would have given women the chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn child before an abortion.

Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw, a Democrat, led the effort to kill the bills and the votes to defeat them ran almost entirely along party lines. with Democrats opposing the pro-life bills and Republicans supporting them.

The Virginia chapter of the ACLU, NARAL and Planned Parenthood banded together to oppose the legislation, while representatives of the Family Foundation, Americans United for Life and the Virginia Catholic Conference supported them along with the Virginia Society for Human Life.

“Women seeking termination of their pregnancy are not given all the facts of the procedure,” Dr. John Kuda, a radiologist told the panel about the ultrasound bill, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch newspaper.

“It gives a woman the opportunity to make an informed choice,” said Sen. Ralph Smith, a Republican who backed the bill.