A recent report indicates that numerous states are passing restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion under the health care reform law.
Mary Harned, staff counsel at Americans United for Life, said that
state-level pro-life laws passed in recent legislative sessions have
“been a great victory for the unborn and women across the country.”
“The fact that these types of laws are successful,” Harned told CNA on
Feb. 5, “shows that many Americans do not want public funds paying for
abortions, and they also do not want their own insurance premiums paying
Harned responded to a new report by the Guttmacher Institute, an
organization committed to “reproductive health” and formerly connected
to Planned Parenthood.
The report analyzes state laws as the date approaches for the
Affordable Care Act to go into effect. The law, which provides for state
health care exchanges in which individuals and small businesses can
find insurance plans, also gives states express authority to limit
According to Guttmacher, 20 states have passed legislation to restrict
abortion coverage in insurance plans offered through the health care
Some states require abortion coverage to be purchased separately so as
to avoid using taxpayer money to fund abortions. Others prohibit
abortion coverage in the exchange health plans except in the cases of
rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
Eight states have laws “restricting insurance coverage of abortion”
altogether in private plans, including those in the exchanges.
In addition, 18 states limit “abortion coverage in insurance plans for
public employees,” and 13 states have more than one kind of restriction.
Harned said that the institute’s assessment of insurance coverage laws
is “pretty accurate” and matches the study carried out by Americans
United for Life.
“Polls show that the vast majority of Americans oppose the public funding for abortion,” she noted.
Public discussion of the Affordable Care Act “drew a lot of people’s
attention to the fact that many insurance plans do cover abortions,” she
added, and many states are now “very interested” in modifying such
Harned said “an increase in interest” among the general American
population has also been a driving force behind measures to restrict
both public and private insurance funding of abortion procedures.
Citizens have come to the conclusion that they “do not want their tax
dollars paying for their public employees to have abortions,” she
explained, and in many states “they don’t want their premiums covering
abortions for other people” either.
Americans United for Life has worked to provide legal counsel and model legislation for states wishing to enact pro-life laws.
Several states, including Alabama, Nebraska, South Carolina and
Virginia, have relied upon the pro-life organization’s language in
enacting laws restricting insurance coverage of abortion in the
exchanges, Harned said.
“Our conclusion is that this is a great victory for the unborn, and for
their mothers and for taxpayers,” she explained, adding that “we expect
more states to follow.”