Missourians will not be required to subsidize abortion through health insurance policies sold in the state under a bill adopted by the Missouri Legislature. The legislation, which is awaiting action by Governor Jay Nixon, would prohibit federally-subsidized health plans authorized
under the new federal health care bill from including abortion coverage.
"This legislation protects Missouri's longstanding desire not to use taxpayer dollars to fund abortions, and it's especially important now that the federal health care mandate attempts to do just that," says Senator Scott Rupp of Wentzville, the sponsor of the pro-life measure.
President Obama's recently enacted federal health care law, known as the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," establishes health insurance exchanges in each state. Insurance policies marketed through those plans benefit from federal subsidies. Individuals of low-to-moderate income are eligible to receive refundable tax
credits and cost-sharing reductions which they may use to purchase abortion coverage.
In addition, if a health insurance company offers a plan that includes abortion coverage, they are required under the new federal law to impose a separate abortion premium. This abortion surcharge must be collected from every enrollee in the plan regardless of their age, gender, or family status.
In an effort to placate pro-life forces in his own party, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid inserted language into the federal bill allowing states to opt out of the abortion mandate provisions. The language provides
that "a state may elect to prohibit abortion coverage in qualified health plans offered through an exchange in such state if such state enacts a law to provide for such prohibition."
That's exactly what Senator Rupp's proposal does. It stipulates that "no health insurance exchange established in the state or any health insurance exchange administered by the federal government or its agencies shall offer health insurance contracts, plans, or policies that provide coverage for elective abortions."
Senator Rupp's bill, Senate Bill 747, was amended late in the session to the major pro-life ultrasound bill sponsored by Senator Rob Mayer. That proposal was then adopted by the Missouri Senate on a 32-1 vote, and then endorsed by the Missouri House of Representatives
by a vote of 114-39. It now awaits action by Governor Nixon, who can either sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.
Should Nixon sign the bill, Missouri would likely become the fifth state to opt out of the federal abortion mandate. Arizona, Mississippi, and Tennessee have already done so, and Louisiana's bill is expected to be signed by Governor Bobby Jindal at any time.
Missouri has a long history of protecting its citizens from underwriting the killing of preborn children through their health insurance premiums. A law adopted by the General Assembly in 1983 prohibited elective abortion
coverage in health insurance policies issued in the state except through an optional rider. The Rupp proposal prohibits coverage through riders in the new health insurance exchanges as well, since the policies would be subsidized by taxpayers.
Studies have shown that fewer than 15% of abortions performed each year are paid for through health insurance. Nearly 60% of women paid for abortions out of their own pocket. However, surveys also show that as many as 87% of employer-based group health insurance plans do cover abortions. Many of these plans are exempt from aspects of state regulation under a federal law known as ERISA.
We commend Senator Rupp for his leadership in addressing this issue, along with Representative Darrell Pollock
of Lebanon, who introduced identical legislation in the House. The Missouri Family Policy Council worked with Senator Rupp to introduce this legislation at his request, and it was the first such opt-out bill introduced in any state legislature.
We also commend Senate and House leaders for recognizing the urgency of this issue this session and giving it expedited attention. The Senate advanced Senator Rupp's legislation out of committee the very day after the U.S. Congress gave final approval to President Obama's health care bill.
Since the Supreme Court Roe v Wade
decision that legalized abortion, taxpayers have not been compelled to pay for the destruction of unborn children. Under the Obama health care bill, for the first time, taxpayers are forced to underwrite abortion coverage in federally-
prescribed, federally-managed, and federally-financed health insurance plans.
If Governor Nixon signs the opt-out legislation, Missouri taxpayers will not be required to subsidize the practice of abortion within our state. Yet Missouri taxpayers will still be forced to pay for abortion paid for through federally-subsidized health plans in other states where similar opt-out legislation is not adopted.
As we have stated before, the new federal health care plan engineers a sordid partnership between the federal government, the health insurance community, and the abortion industry. The taxpayer-supported inclusion of abortion in conventional health insurance plans will institutionalize the abortion procedure as a standard health care benefit. The enactment of Missouri's opt-out law will at least disengage our state from this blood-thirsty business.
We encourage you to contact Governor Nixon and ask him to sign Senate Substitute for Senate Bill 793. In addition to the abortion mandate opt-out, the legislation greatly strengthens Missouri's informed consent law on abortion. Women will be told the truth about the nature, the risks, the consequences, and the alternatives to abortion.
You can contact Governor Nixon by using this link: