South Carolina House Panel OKs No Abortion $ in Obamacare

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 15, 2012   |   7:42PM   |   Columbia, SC

Earlier this year, the South Carolina Senate approved a bill that would make the state the 16th to opt out of covering abortions with taxpayer dollars under the Obamcare health care law that pro-life organizations adamantly opposed because of abortion funding.A subcommittee of the S.C. House Labor, Commerce, and Industry Committee rebuffed pro-abortion groups Tuesday afternoon and passed Senate bill S102 to opt South Carolina out of paying for most abortions if ObamaCare insurance exchanges are implemented in 2014.

Without the Opt Out law in place, government funding would pay for all elective abortions. In 2010, the lasted year for which information is available, there were 6,464 abortions in South Carolina, according to the SC Department of Health and Environment Control.

The measure passed without amendments by a vote of 4-1 with one abstention. It now goes to the full LCI Committee. Supporting passage of the Opt Out law are organizations representing hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians including South Carolina Citizens for Life, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Diocese of Charleston, the Christian World View Center of North Greenville University, the South Carolina Association of Pregnancy Care Centers and numerous individuals.

Voting in favor of the Opt Out bill were LCI Chairman Bill Sandifer, R-Oconee, and Representatives Steve Parker, R-Spartanburg, Kris Crawford, R-Florence, and Gene Pinson, R-Greenwood. Carl Anderson, D-Georgetown-Williamsburg opposed the bill. Grady Brown, D-Lee-Sumter abstained from voting.

Holly Gatling of SCCL relayed to LifeNews the details of the committee hearing:

During testimony, Chairman Sandifer swiftly shot down the pro-abortion argument of Victoria Middleton, executive director of the South Carolina American Civil Liberties Union who opposes the Opt Out bill. He pointed out that the ACLU unsuccessfully attempted to enjoin the Opt Out provisions of ObamaCare in Kansas and Missouri. “Are you aware of that?” he asked. Ms. Middleton said she was. Representative Sanford dismissed her further arguments saying, “I understand your request. It is not based on constitutionality.”

Elaine Faithful, a spokeswoman for the South Carolina Coalition of Health Families, also opposed the Opt Out bill. Philosophically aligned with the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) the coalition opposes informed consent and waiting periods before an abortion is performed.

The Palmetto Family Council also supports the bill.

“When the Patient’s Affordability and Protection Act (known to most as “Obamacare”) was passed, it allowed states to opt out of abortion coverage in the new “exchanges” established by the law. This was to insure that taxpayer dollars were never commingled with private dollars and paid to abortion clinics,” the pro-life group continued. “The South Carolina Senate passed the bill (S.102) over two months ago on March 8 by a vote of 38-1. But the House hasn’t even held a committee hearing yet.”

“The South Carolina House passed a similar bill in 2011 by a vote of 69-41. There was strong support for the bill in the House in 2011 and support is even stronger for opting out of Obamacare now. Please call your House member today,” the pro-life group concluded.

South Carolina voters can go to to make a phone call to their legislators to support the bill.

Earlier this year, South Dakota became the fifteenth stateto cut abortion funding in the controversial Obamacare health care legislation that requires states to set up health insurance exchanges and Americans to purchase health insurance. Governor Dennis Daugaard signed into law HB 1185, a bill sponsored by state representative Jon Hansen and drafted from an Americans United for Life model bill on the subject.

With the new law, South Dakota joins Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas,  Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia that have all opted out of having abortion covered in their federally-mandated insurance plans.

“This is yet another proof that Americans are not interested in subsidizing abortion with their own money,” stated Daniel McConchie, Vice President of Government Affairs for Americans United for Life.

He told LifeNews, “South Dakota won’t be the last state to act on this. At least seven other states have similar bills pending right now. Other states are looking to include such a provision as an amendment to a bill that establishes the state exchanges. Passing a bill like this is the only way a state can prevent their citizens from being forced to subsidize abortion.”

The signing of the bill comes as the Obama Administration has taken another step in what amounts to a four-year plan to make abortion-covering health insurance, subsidized by the federal government, commonly available in the United States.

The latest action came on March 12, when the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a lengthy regulation that spells out how some of the components of the massive 2010 Obama health care law (“ObamaCare”) will be implemented.

The new rule — consuming 644 pages, including HHS’s commentary — is concerned mainly with the “exchanges,” which are the government-operated health insurance markets that must be established in every state by January 1, 2014. While states may retain responsibility for administering the exchanges, they must do so according to the detailed blueprints provided in the federal law and in federal regulations, including the new rule.

Nestled within the “individual mandate” in the Obamacare act — that portion of the Act requiring every American to purchase government — approved insurance or pay a penalty — is an “abortion premium mandate.” This mandate requires all persons enrolled in insurance plans that include elective abortion coverage to pay a separate premium from their own pockets to fund abortion.  As a result, many pro-life Americans will have to decide between a plan that violates their consciences by funding abortion, or a plan that may not meet their health needs.

The Department of Health and Human Services has issued a final ruleregarding establishment of the state health care exchanges required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

As a knowledgeable pro-life source on Capitol Hill informed LifeNews, as authorized by Obamacare, “The final rule provides for taxpayer funding of insurance coverage that includes elective abortion” and the change to longstanding law prohibiting virtually all direct taxpayer funding of abortions (the Hyde Amendment) is accomplished through an accounting arrangement described in the Affordable Care Act and reiterated in the final rule issued.



“To comply with the accounting requirement, plans will collect a $1 abortion surcharge from each premium payer,” the pro-life source informed LifeNews. “The enrollee will make two payments, $1 per month for abortion and another payment for the rest of the services covered. As described in the rule, the surcharge can only be disclosed to the enrollee at the time of enrollment.  Furthermore, insurance plans may only advertise the total cost of the premiums without disclosing that enrollees will be charged a $1 per month fee to pay directly subsidize abortions.”

The pro-life advocate told LifeNews that the final HHS rule mentions, but does not address concerns about abortion coverage in “multi-state” plans administered by the Federal Government’s Office of Personell Management (OPM).

“There is nothing in the Affordable Care Act to prevent some OPM (government administered) plans from covering elective abortion, and questions remain about whether OPM multi-state plans will include elective abortion,” the pro-life source said. “If such plans do include abortion, there are concerns that the abortion coverage will even be offered in states that have prohibited abortion coverage in their state exchanges.”

The final rule indicates: “Specific standards for multi-state plans will be described in future rulemaking published by OPM…”