By Kathleen Gilbert

BALTIMORE, Maryland, January 8, 2010 ( – A local Planned Parenthood official has bluntly admitted why health insurance companies are increasingly comfortable with covering abortions: because the choice to kill an unborn child is cheaper than giving birth.

“A first trimester abortion is $300 to $450,” Baltimore Planned Parenthood CEO John Nugent told the national business magazine Forbes Thursday. “But if the gestational age is higher you're paying for a surgical suite. That's why the insurance companies think they should be offering it. It's cheaper to terminate an unwanted pregnancy rather than taking it to term.”

The Forbes article points out the cost estimates offered by the Health Care Blue Book: it lists a typical abortion in a physician's office costing $397, while a vaginal delivery costs $5,992, and a caeserean section is $8,558. 

The issue of private abortion coverage has been spotlighted by the abortion-funding debate swirling around President Obama's health care overhaul, which was originally structured to begin quietly funding abortion with government funds by default.  Abortion advocates are lobbying full-force against an amendment in the House version of the bill that applies Hyde-amendment restrictions for federal abortion funding.  Because the Hyde language restricts taxpayer dollars from funding any private plan covering abortion, customers would have to purchase the abortion coverage in a separate, supplemental plan.

Nugent suggested that insurance companies “won't talk about” their reasons for covering abortion, despite the fact that the debate on Capitol Hill could considerably impact their revenue.

In a op-ed Wednesday, Students for Life Executive Director Kristan Hawkins noted that a provision in the Senate health care bill mandating coverage for abortion was dangerous for unborn children diagnosed with expensive disabilities or diseases, particularly in a health economy hampered by increased dependence on government funding.

“Sadly, there are many in the medical profession today who see the cure of many devastating diseases as simply the elimination of those pre-born with the diseases,” wrote Hawkins.

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