The Florida House Insurance and Banking Committee approved a measure on Wednesday that prohibits any publicly funded insurance plan from covering an abortion unless the woman’s life is in danger or the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest. If the measure becomes law, Florida will join the ranks of many other states passing similar laws.
House Bill 97 would exempt Florida from a provision in the federal health care law that Republican state House members argue would provide “state” or public money for abortions.
The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 provided a way for states to exempt themselves from these services, and many states have already taken advantage of the provision. According to research by the Center for American Progress, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee are among the states that already have such laws on the books.
As of early March, there were already 21 other states that had “introduced legislation this year that seeks to restrict the availability of abortion coverage in their exchanges.”
These states are essentially passing laws much like the failed Stupak Amendment — former U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak’s effort to prohibit any federal funds set up in the health insurance exchanges in the federal health care law more than a year ago.
However, states like Louisiana and Tennessee make the extreme measures of the Stupak Amendment seem downright benign. Neither Louisiana nor Tennessee provide exceptions for rape, incest or to protect the woman’s life. Arizona and Missouri only provide an exception when the woman’s life is threatened.
H.B. 97 is headed to the House Health and Human Services Committee before its final vote in the Florida House.