What was often ignored by those that opposed passage of the healthcare reform bill was that, in addition to all the steps taken to make certain that nothing that could be remotely construed as public funds would be used to pay for abortion services, that states also had the right to opt-out of even taking those steps by not including insurance plans that covered abortion.
Therefore we’ll expect to see as many as 50 state legislative battles about whether states will include plans that cover abortion. Tennessee looks to be the first to try passing such legislation even if the health insurance exchanges won’t start till 2014.
Tennessee would opt out of using state tax money to pay for abortion services in state health care exchanges under legislation passed on a voice vote by the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday.
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The bill is sponsored in the House by state Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough.
Health exchanges were included in the health care reform bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.
House Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington, asked Hill for an explanation of the bill and pointed out abortion restrictions were already in the health care reform bill.
“The state has to take action on it to opt ourselves out of it so our tax money isn’t used for (abortion),” Hill told Naifeh.
State Rep. Eric Swafford, R-Pikeville, asked Hill if his bill was a “preemptive strike” for what could happen with health care reform.
“I think it is partially that as well as also an option given to each individual state by the federal (health care reform) legislation,” Hill answered.
State Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, noted Hill’s legislation had broader language prohibiting coverage for abortion services under “any health care plan” related to federal reform legislation.
“It seems that this legislation, because of what has been done at the federal level, I think is premature and probably not necessary,” she told Hill.
“I would respectfully disagree with that,” Hill responded. “I feel it is extremely necessary because … we can continue to ensure our Tennessee tax money does not go to fund abortions at the federal level.”
In Other News
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had some pointed words about abortion in Canada yesterday. The Toronto Star reports:
“You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health and reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortions,” Clinton said Tuesday.
“I do not think governments should be involved in making these decisions. It is perfectly legitimate for people to hold their own personal views based on conscience, religion or any other basis. But I’ve always believed that the government should not intervene in decisions of such intimacy,” she said.
The remarks were seen as Clinton weighing in Canada’s recent controversy over whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s maternal and child health initiative at the G8 summit this year would include access to both contraception and abortion.
Mini roundup: In New Jersey, your elderly grandmother is at risk for contracting HIV/AIDs, as rates for those over 65 are growing. Operation Bra Drop has been delivering “gently used and clean brassieres” from American women and given them to poor women in Mexico. Lastly the father of a Marine killed in Iraq who sued over the picketing of his son’s funeral was ordered to pay $16,510 in court fees to Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church.
March 31, 2010
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Where the US Went Wrong on Abortion CBS News
Abortion bill clears Round 1 Omaha World-Herald
Bill would let Tennessee not use tax money for abortions Kingsport Times News
Ga. Senate’s new concern for black children Atlanta Journal Constitution
After one year, same-sex marriage advocates fight on Iowa City Press Citizen
Doctor gets lifeline after abortion Daily Monitor
‘Bra Drop’ collects garments for women in need Statesman Journal
March 30, 2010
Kansas lawmakers pass rewrite of abortion laws Kansas City Star
City school considering change to abortion policy Examiner.com
Newman brings personal story to abortion debate St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Maryland: Impeachment Threat Over Gay Marriage New York Times
Dead Marine’s father order to pay court fees for anti-gay hate group San Diego Gay & Lesbian News