Pennsylvania Close to opting out of ObamaCare’s Insurance Coverage of Abortion

By Dave Andrusko

When I recently interviewed Mary Spaulding Balch, JD, National Right to Life’s director of state legislation, for an end-of-the-year story, she mentioned that there was still time left in some legislatures to pass pro-life legislation before the end of 2011. One of those areas was ObamaCare

She explained to me that ObamaCare requires the States to operate and maintain “health insurance exchanges” by 2014. However ObamaCare specifically allows States to affirmatively prohibit coverage of abortions under the qualified health plans offered through the exchanges.

“Eight states took advantage of that ‘opt-out,’” Balch said. “That was a huge victory which we hope to duplicate in the next legislative cycle.”

Well, hopefully there will soon be a ninth: Pennsylvania. I asked Maria Vitale, Education Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, for an update. She graciously obliged this morning:

“Pennsylvania is one step closer to joining ranks with other states that are opting out of abortion funding under so-called health care reform.  The Pennsylvania House of Representatives next week is expected to vote on HB 1977, which allows Pennsylvania  to opt out of abortion funding in the insurance exchanges created by the new health care law.  On Wednesday, the House rejected amendments designed to weaken the bill.  The measure is similar to SB 3, which passed the  Senate by a large bipartisan majority earlier this year.

“Public opinion polls have consistently shown that Americans do not want public funding of abortion, and that is also true in Pennsylvania.  The legislation would simply continue a long-standing policy preventing government-subsidized abortion in the Keystone State.   

“HB 1977 and SB 3 have the strong support of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the Pennsylvania affiliate of National Right to Life.”  

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