March 19, 2014 — A Georgia bill (S 98) that would prohibit abortion coverage in state employee health plans and private health plans sold through the federal health insurance marketplace has cleared the state Legislature and is heading to Gov. Nathan Deal (R), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Torres, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3/18).
The bill would codify a Georgia Department of Community Health policy banning abortion coverage in state employee health plans (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/5).
The measure does not include exceptions for rape or incest. The bill would only allow abortion services to be covered if a woman's life is in danger.
Both chambers of the state Legislature passed the measure on Tuesday after approving changes that were made in committee.
State Rep. Richard Smith (R) said the bill will bring "permanency" to the rules set by the state Department of Community Health.
However, state Sen. Nan Orrock (D) called the bill an "egregious attack" on women's health care access.
State House Minority Whip Carolyn Hugley (D) added, "What we're saying to people working for us in this Capitol is we love you, but you better not get raped. Because if you do, you're going to have to carry that pregnancy to term."
Hugley also criticized the way the bill was handled in committee. According to the Journal-Constitution, the bill did not undergo a subcommittee hearing, nor were members of the public allowed to testify (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3/18).