Abortion Bill: Proposed Pennsylvania Legislation Would Block Abortion-Related Insurance Expenses

A Pennsylvania bill will not allow women to have abortion procedures as a part of their health insurance exchanges. Pennsylvania is one of several states making efforts to prevent tax payer money from going toward abortions. Lawmakers are claiming that they are upholding the foundations of policies currently in place by government subsidized insurance expenditures. However, this law along with others similar to other states is a blatant agenda to further prevent a woman’s right to choose.

Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, and Louisiana are just a few of many states that have enacted legislation to prevent abortions in response to the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act legalization in March 2010. Under the controversial Democrat-sponsored health plan, states are granted the authority to provide financial health insurance subsidies in the form of state insurance exchanges. The exchange system allows private companies to enter a competitive market to sell various forms of health packages for consumers to choose from. The new initiatives are planned to take effect in 2014.

Pennsylvania has had an active history of anti-abortion initiatives. Last year over 6,000 pro-life advocates from Pennsylvania participated in the annual March for Life rally in the nation’s capital. In 2011, the Pennsylvania legislature introduced House Bill 1077, a proposal that would call for women at abortion clinics to sign off on ultrasound images and video of their fetuses prior to proceeding with the procedure.

The Abortion Control Act of Pennsylvania was initially passed in 1989 and reconfirmed in 1994. The law requires women to receive medical information from their physicians at least 24 hours prior to their procedures, and can afterwards make a decision at their own discretion. In addition, minors must be granted parental consent for procedures. In the event that they can not get parental consent, a judge can grant a Judicial Bypass.

If the law is passed, conditions in which the mother’s health is severely at risk will not be covered either. Federal law states that no government funds will be exercised towards abortion procedures. However when citizens are paying for their own private health plans, is the government overstepping its boundaries by impeding a women’s action to choose? It certainly appears that way. The bill has since passed the Pennsylvania Senate and is awaiting action in the House. There is no current date set for further voting on the policy proposal.

The actions of the Pennsylvania legislature contradict the sentiments of an overall national trend of legalizing abortion. According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted in January 2013, 7 out of 10 Americans opposed an initiative to overturn the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortions. The abortion controversy is still active in American politics, however the federal government is continuing its trend of encroaching in the personal lives of Americans. A definitive set of boundaries need to be set, but getting there will be the difficult part for policymakers.

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Shawna Gillen

Shawna is currently studying Political Science and Psychology at Marist College. She has a passion for politics and is an aspiring lawyer. In her spare time she likes to play club women's rugby, and contributes as the Co-News Editor for Marist's student newspaper.

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