South Carolina OKs Obamacare Abortion $ Opt-Out, Born Alive Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 30, 2011   |   1:43PM   |   Columbia, SC

The South Carolina state House approved pro-life bills yesterday by wide margins, including legislation to keeps abortion out of government and private health insurance exchanges created under the new health care law.

The bills also protect the rights of health care professionals and protect infants born alive in South Carolina after failed abortions or purposefully induced for the purposes of killing them.

“The closer we get to national health care, the more important it is that we have people who believe in the sanctity of life,” said pro-life leader, Rep. Greg Delleney, R-Chester, chief sponsor of the legislation to keep abortion out of the state exchanges created under Obamacare.

“Also with the federal opt out provision, we need to make sure that people who believe in the sanctity of life don’t have to pay for someone else’s elective abortions.  At the same time we need to make sure that those people who believe in the sanctity of human life who are buying coverage on the open market aren’t forced to buy elective abortion coverage.  If someone wants elective abortion coverage, they should purchase that coverage on their own,” he said.

About the conscience protections, Delleney added, “We do not need to make pro-life people choose between a career in the health care field and their conscience.”

The Obamacare abortion funding opt-out and conscience protection bill passed 69-41 while the Born-Alive Infant Protection bill passed 91-22.   

The opt-out law prohibits private insurance companies from covering abortion except by what is called a separate rider.  Abortion insurance would be available for those who purchase it with a separate policy.

No insurance company is forced to provide abortion coverage, according to information South Carolina Citizens for Life provided LifeNews. But until the S.C. Senate passes the House bill, many South Carolinians who find abortion morally objectionable and have a group policy that covers abortion pay premiums that cover abortions for someone else, the group said.

The ban extends to the state exchanges the Obamacare legislation would set up because the funding for abortions would come at taxpayer expense through the exchanges, which would be funded with federal subsidies. Currently, abortion coverage is banned by a legislative proviso, not a law.

The conscience protections prohibit employers from firing or refusing to hire employees who object to participating in abortions or a number of practices, including working with embryonic tissue obtained by destroying human embryos, days old human beings. The Freedom of Conscience Act would allow medical workers like hospital workers, nurses, pharmacists and others to opt out of certain practices,such as providing the morning after pill that can sometimes cause an abortion.

The Born Alive bill expands the definition of “person” and “child” in all South Carolina laws to include unborn children who survive failed abortions or are born prematurely. The bill has been approved by the state House in past sessions only to see it stall in the state Senate.

Pro-life House members defeated 20 amendments intended to weaken the opt-out bill and they endured about three hours of attacks during debate by pro-abortion members.

Taking the floor, militant pro-abortion lawmaker Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, at one point huffily groused, “You have demonstrated you have zero respect for a woman’s right to chose.” She said she would like to be a “fly on the pearly gates” so she could observe St. Peter denying pro-life Christians entrance into Heaven.

Lisa Van Riper, president of South Carolina Citizens for Life, praised the passage of the Born-Alive bill. 

“By its vote today, the House has said no child should be discriminated against due to the circumstances of its birth,” she said.

On the opt-out/conscience protection legislation she said, “I think today that we have now protected a true choice decision that allows people the option not to co-mingle tax funds or private funds that may go to the destruction of innocent human life.  We have guaranteed the choice of health care workers not to violate their conscience.”

The action Tuesday was second reading of the bills, which includes debate. Today, the bills are expected to receive the perfunctory third reading and then move to the state Senate.

Planned Parenthood Health Systems, a statewide abortion business, opposed the bill, saying it would somehow limit women’s rights to abortion. 

The pro-life bills are supported by South Carolina Citizens for Life, the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the Catholic Diocese of Charleston, Palmetto Family Council, the Christian World View Center of North Greenville University, members of the National Association for Pro-Life Nurses and the Blessed Clemens von Galen Medical Guild of South Carolina (a guild of the Catholic Medical Association) among others.

In South Carolina, approximately 7,000 abortions were done in 2008, which is down significantly from the more than 10,000 done years ago — thanks in part to a number of pro-life laws the legislature has approved to limit abortions.