Arizona Legislature Approves Bill to Opt Out of Abortion Coverage in Obamacare

State   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Mar 26, 2015   |   1:04PM   |   Phoenix, AZ

On Monday, the Arizona House of Representatives voted to prohibit health insurance plans under Obamacare from providing abortion coverage in a 33-24 vote. The legislation, SB 1318, will allow Arizona to join the other 17 states in the U.S. that have prohibited elective abortion coverage on their state exchanges.

Arizona’s House Majority Leader, Steve Montenegro (R-Litchfield Park), said 90% of individuals who obtain such coverage are getting their premiums subsidized. He said that the legislation simply ensures that public funds are not used to subsidize abortion. Additionally, SB 1318 requires that abortionists tell their patients that they could reverse the effects of the RU-486 abortion regimen if they change their mind during the process.



In a recent article on Arizona Central, doctors Allan Sawyer and Clint Leonard, responded to an op-ed by Planned Parenthood board member Dr. Eric Reuss about SB 1318.

They wrote, “In his Monday My Turn column, former Planned Parenthood board member Dr. Eric Reuss wrote, “The role of our state government cannot be to interfere in women’s access to health care.” We couldn’t agree more. The problem is that contrary to what Planned Parenthood may think and what would help their bottom line, abortion is not health care. Abortion harms women and ends the life of a preborn child.”

They added, “In regard to the informed consent provision in SB 1318, women deserve to be fully informed and know all the facts before choosing to have an abortion. Most would agree that a woman would want to know that if she changes her mind after taking the first pill of a medication abortion, she may be able to reverse its effects and save her child’s life. That’s all SB 1318 requires.”


However, supporters of the legislation argue that the bill will require rape victims to share with their insurance companies that they’ve been raped and need an exemption from the provision. Rep. Victoria Steele (D-Tucson) said, “That is a cruel joke. Imagine, your daughter, God-forbid, someone you love is pregnant as the result of a rape. But for this person, it would be immediate. They would need to their insurance company to prove that they could apply for the exemption. How humiliating.”

Rep. Kelly Townsend (R-Scottsdale) responded to Rep. Steele’s argument and said her objections to the provision are irrelevant. She said, “This bill will prevent taxpayer money going to pay for abortions. This isn’t something we came up with to humiliate anyone.” Rep. Townsend added that the restrictions in the measure, and the exemptions for rape and incest, are the same that have been in federal law since the 1970s and are the same as already exist in the state’s Medicaid program.