States Should Continue Dropping Obamacare Abortion Funding

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 12, 2012   |   1:40PM   |   Washington, DC

There is a chance the Supreme Court, as early as June, could overturn all or part of the controversial Obamacare law that includes taxpayer financing of abortions.

Responding to the passage of the health care “reform” law, more than a dozen states have approved language to ensure their own state health care exchanges do not pay for abortions using taxpayer dollars. While the possible reversal of Obama would be welcome by pro-life groups, leaders of one suggest states should continue passing such laws to cut abortion funding in it.

Daniel McConchie is vice president of government affairs for Americans United for Life and Mary Harned, staff counsel for the pro-life group, make the argument in a column today at the Washington Times.

The Department of Health and Human Services has set in motion the Obamacare abortion premium mandate, a provision that permits insurance plans that cover abortions to participate in state exchanges and requires all enrollees in those plans – even those with religious and moral objections to abortion – to pay a separate monthly premium to cover abortions. But many states are diligently passing laws to stop it.

The administration’s health care law permits a state to opt out of allowing health insurance plans that cover abortions to participate in the new health insurance exchanges within that state and thereby prohibit taxpayer money from subsidizing plans that cover abortions.

South Dakota recently became the 15th state to enact such a law. Based on model language by Americans United for Life, South Dakota’s law expressly states, “No qualified health plan offered through a health insurance exchange established in the state may include elective abortion coverage.” In other words, anyone who wants to have insurance coverage for abortion must pay for it outside of the government-subsidized exchange. Taxpayers and persons enrolled in insurance plans in the South Dakota exchange will not be forced to pay for the abortions of other South Dakotans.

South Dakota won’t be the last. At least seven other states have similar bills pending. Additionally, several other states are planning to include similar language in their legislation to establish the insurance exchanges in their state.

It’s worth noting that most of the states that have opted out so far have not even enacted laws to establish their exchanges. Also, the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on the constitutionality of Obamacare. Americans United for Life and other organizations filed an amicus brief highlighting the free-exercise violation imposed by the abortion surcharge. Furthermore, the exchanges do not become operational until 2014.

So, why the rush to action by so many states? Because a requirement to subsidize abortion is so deeply contentious and contrary to the public policy of most states, legislators are acting now to guarantee abortion coverage will never be subsidized in their state.