The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee has approved legislation to place a proposed new insurance system created by the federal Affordable Care Act under Pennsylvania's existing law that prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars for elective abortions.
Senate Bill 3, introduced by committee chairman Senator Don White (R-Indiana), prohibits health insurers participating in taxpayer-subsidized state health insurance exchanges - slated to be operational by 2014 - from providing coverage for elective abortions.
"Under the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, states have the authority to prohibit certain abortion coverage made available in these taxpayer subsidized health plans and we intend to exercise that authority," White said in a news release. "This is not a new step for Pennsylvania, but rather a continuation of existing law."
White said his legislation is consistent with the Pennsylvania Medical Assistance Program and the Abortion Control Act. Exceptions allowing for coverage in cases involving rape, incest or when the life of the woman is in danger currently exist in state law.
"I want to make this clear, Senate Bill 3 does not ban abortions, nor does it bar insurance coverage offered in the private sector from covering abortions," White said. "This legislation extends our existing law on the use of taxpayer dollars for elective abortions to health insurance exchanges."