By Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 26, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Legislators in over a dozen states are considering a pro-life plan that would opt their states out of a major abortion mandate in the health care reform bill passed last Sunday.
The legislation, developed by Americans United for Life (AUL), intends to take the abortion-health care fight to the states. It exploits a provision in the Senate health care bill that explicitly allows the state-run health insurance exchanges to prevent federal money from subsidizing health insurance companies that offer co-pays for abortion.
The proposed model legislation is called the “Federal Abortion-Mandate Opt-Out Act.” In a statement, Charmaine Yoest, President of AUL, said AUL’s legal team would work with state leaders to tailor legislation to each state’s particular needs.
“The states are very interested in this, we are getting inundated with requests for the language,” said Mary Harned, a health care expert on AUL’s legal team, in a telephone interview with LifeSiteNews.com (LSN).
“This legislation is explicitly allowed in the language of the health care reform bill. So it is definitely something that is appropriate and that can be done,” continued Harned. “We will certainly see some opposition to the bill in the state legislatures.”
The legislation also cites federal court precedents that would support any state’s decision to prohibit federal subsidies to abortion-providing health insurers. The bill states the “decision not to fund abortion places no governmental obstacle in the path of a woman who chooses to terminate her pregnancy” and that “it is permissible for a State to engage in unequal subsidization of abortion and other medical services to encourage alternative activity deemed in the public interest.”
The model bill also cites an analysis of the Guttmacher Institute that showed that women are more likely to opt for abortion, when it is subsidized with taxpayer dollars, especially in the case of women on Medicaid.
AUL informed LifeSiteNews.com in an e-mail that so far state legislators from Kansas, Georgia, Delaware, Kentucky, California, Oregon, South Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Maine, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Maryland had contacted them regarding how to enact opt-out legislation in their own states. AUL said they have received hundreds of similar requests via e-mail and are still sorting through them.