No Abortion Funding in 'Obamacare' Health Exchanges, Virginia Decides

By Alma

The Virginia House and Senate voted Wednesday to ban abortion coverage in insurance plans sold through the health care exchange that will be set up in compliance with the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare." The amendment was proposed by the state's governor, Bob McDonnell.

Senate Democrats were hoping to block the measure, but failed when two Democrats joined Republicans to move the amendment forward, according to NBC Washington.

The state had already passed a similar amendment in 2011 but a new amendment was necessary because Virginia opted to let the federal government set up the exchange rather than set up the exchange itself. The amendment was added to bills setting up state oversight of the exchanges.

The amendment reads: "No qualified health insurance plan that is sold or offered for sale through an exchange established or operating in the Commonwealth shall provide coverage for abortions, regardless of whether such coverage is provided through the plan or is offered as a separate optional rider thereto … ."

"Governor McDonnell has always maintained a pro-life stance," said Jeff Caldwell, a spokesman for McDonnell. "These amendments continue a policy established by the General Assembly in 2011 when it passed initial legislation to govern the possibility of a state-run health exchange. While Virginia has now notified the federal government that it will participate in a federal exchange, the policy toward restricting federal funding from paying for abortions as part of this exchange has not changed."

Delegate & Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Charniele Herring called the amendment "extreme" and complained that Virginia Republicans were "injecting themselves into decisions that should be between a woman and her doctor."

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