from the inbox:
In a perfect example of a solution in search of a problem, the most recent Pennsylvania abortion restriction bill - House Bill 818 - continued on its path through the Pennsylvania legislature on Tuesday, passing out of the House of Representatives.
Sari Stevens, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates commented on today’s vote, “Proponents of this bill continue to mislead the legislature and the public, characterizing the debate as centered on taxpayer funding of abortion. Nothing could be farther from the truth. House Bill 818 bans the purchase of insurance coverage of abortion with private dollars, end of story. The disingenuous and purposeful misinformation that has been circulated about House Bill 818 and Senate Bill 3 is truly shameful. ”
“If the advocates and elected officials pushing these bills would be forthcoming with their ultimate goal - to eliminate safe access to abortion services at any turn and any cost, we could at least have an honest debate. Instead, the effort to pass this bill after five full years has been consistently cloaked in mistruths so as to confuse the legislature into submission.”
In a dramatic change in the status quo and intrusion into the free market, House Bill 818 would ban insurance companies from offering policies through the Pennsylvania exchange that cover abortion services outside of the narrow instances of rape and incest that have been personally reported to law enforcement, or to avert the death of the woman. Existing federal law already requires individuals to provide an entirely separate payment for insurance coverage of abortion if they access coverage through a healthcare exchange. Senate Bill 3 passed out of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee with identical language in recent weeks and is also poised for a full floor vote in the Senate.
“Even more shocking is that this bill is so ideological and blind-sighted as to refuse to give women with serious health problems like cancer any consideration,” Stevens continued. Thus, if the bill becomes law, even in tragic cases where the woman’s health is in serious jeopardy, the cost of the abortion procedure – which often takes place in a hospital – would be paid for entirely by the family. An overwhelming 79% of Pennsylvania voters support insurance coverage of abortion to protect a woman’s health. “Failing to provide for this exception is not only bad policy, it’s in stark contrast to public opinion,” said Stevens.
Stevens continued, “Imagine a woman who owns her own business, who chooses to buy her insurance on the Exchange, who pays her premiums every month and during a much anticipated and desired pregnancy develops cancer. The Pennsylvania legislature has decided to tell her that she’s out of luck and has to foot the bill herself. That is beyond cruel. The voters are fed up with the divisive social agenda of this legislature and with elections around the corner again, it’s a surprisingly risky and heartless move.”