HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT, June 13, 2012, ( – A Connecticut state health panel voted unanimously last week that elective abortion is an “essential health benefit.” This means Connecticut’s state health exchanges, which will be established in 2014 in accordance with the Obama administration’s health care reform law, must include coverage of abortion.

Jennifer Jaff, a member of an advisory committee of the Insurance Exchange Health Plan, told local media, “Stripping women of elective abortions is not a tenable option.” 

Victoria Veltri, state health advocate, agreed, “We wanted to protect a woman’s right to chose.” 

Robert McLean of the Connecticut State Medical Society said after the vote, “I was surprised that that was so easy.”

Eric Scheidler, executive director of Pro-Life Action League, and Peter Wolfgang of the Family Institute of Connecticut opposed the move. “The pro-abortion movement has their tentacles wrapped around state government,” Wolfgang said. Scheidler observed that it’s “a real problem when you compel someone to pay for what they consider homicide,” 

As of June 1, eight states had enacted laws denying coverage of abortion in all private health insurance plans, or allowing abortion coverage only to protect the life of the mother.  Seventeen states have enacted laws severely restricting such coverage to cases such as rape, incest, or “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”