State lawmakers are again taking sides in the battle over abortion.
Governor McDonnell is now asking legislators to impose a limit on insurance policies to be sold here through a federal exchange – a place where Virginians who don’t have coverage through work or school can buy it.
In 2014, Virginians will be able to buy health insurance through a federally run exchange. Some consumers will be eligible for tax breaks to help cover the cost of a policy, and for that reason organizations like the Family Foundation want to exclude abortion from coverage.
“Taxpayers don’t want to pay for elective abortion," says Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb.
She applauds Governor McDonnell for proposing that all policies sold on the exchange exclude abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or threat to a woman’s life. “We’re talking about loss of life, because the reality is there are almost non-existent cases where it is actually better for one’s health to have an abortion than to carry to term.”
But at NARAL – a pro-choice group – deputy director Caroline O’Shea says the proposed ban will put yet another hardship on women.
“It would include no exceptions for women in cases where they’re facing a tragic fetal anomally, a doomed pregnancy and also in cases where something may not be life threatening there could be serious complications that they’re facing in their pregnancy," said O'Shea, who thinks Governor McDonnell has overstepped his legal authority in limiting the coverage of women who won’t qualify for federal subsidies.
“This is an issue of interfering with what a citizen can buy in terms of their own insurance coverage and what they can access in terms of health care -- certainly a part of a dangerous trend of finding more and more ways to chip away at a constitutionally protected, safe, legal procedure.”