Proposed abortion bills draw focus of Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania, Women's Law Project
Pro-abortion-rights groups in Pittsburgh are calling attention to legislation that would restrict coverage in the insurance exchanges that take effect next year.
While acknowledging that the measures are likely to pass the Republican-controlled state House and Senate, Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania and the Women's Law Project are pushing for an exception to be added that would allow abortions if a woman's health is at risk.
“Ultimately, we would not like to see the bill pass,” said Rebecca Cavanaugh, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood. “I think, realistically looking at the makeup of the House, that this will pass.”
The bills — Senate Bill 3 and House Bill 818 — would prevent health insurers from providing coverage for abortions in the plans they will sell in the health insurance exchange that provides people with federal subsidies to buy coverage starting Jan. 1. The proposals carve out limited exceptions where abortion is allowed: cases of rape, incest or when the woman's life is in danger.
Adding a health-risk exception would protect women who want to have a baby but have medical complications during pregnancy that threaten their long-term health but not their life, Cavanaugh said.
Sen. Don White, R-Indiana and sponsor of the Senate bill, “believes ObamaCare's taxpayer subsidized health insurance exchanges should not pay for elective abortions,” said Joe Pittman, White's chief of staff.
“Public opinion surveys consistently demonstrate broad agreement with Sen. White's view — and Pennsylvania's current public policy — that taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for elective abortions,” Pittman said.
Although President Obama's health care law, the Affordable Care Act, outlaws the use of federal money for abortions, the law gives states the discretion to enact their own state-specific restrictions.
“We're only exercising something that the (law) says we can do,” Pittman said.
The state's Medical Assistance program restricts abortion coverage to cases of rape or incest, or to protect the life of the mother, he said.
Rep. Donna Oberlander, a Clarion County Republican and sponsor of the House bill, could not be reached for comment.
Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Alex Nixon to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pennsylvania House approves increase in 911 phone bill fee to $1.65
- Family of 6 escapes just before freight train slams car in Lawrence County
- Small-town police struggle to survive as tax bases shrink
- Slain Pennsylvania Trooper Dickson’s parents forgive suspect Frein
- Mother throws baby, leaps from Allentown bridge; police rescue both
- Pa. state police: Crash that injured Senator Browne may be DUI
- Decline in fire volunteers in Pennsylvania hits ‘crisis stage’
- Md. Gov.: Pennsylvania law enforcement to assist in Baltimore