Pa. Senate Panel Approves Bill To Limit Abortion Coverage Under Affordable Care Act

April 12, 2013 — The Pennsylvania Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on Wednesday advanced a bill that would ban private health plans in the state's health insurance marketplaces from covering most abortions, CBS Philly reports.

The marketplaces will be established under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), which permits states to prohibit insurers from offering abortion coverage (Romeo, CBS Philly, 4/10). The bill -- sponsored by state Sen. Don White (R) -- would require insurers to cover treatment of post-abortion complications, miscarriages or complications related to a miscarriage (AP/Carlisle Sentinel, 4/10).

State Sen. Mike Stack (D) -- who voted against the measure -- noted that it would not allow exceptions for situations in which a pregnancy poses a "substantial risk" to a woman's health. Stack said he believes such a provision should be included. He added, "Substantial risk could be determined by a woman's physician" (CBS Philly, 4/10).

Similar legislation passed the House and Senate during the two-year legislative session that ended last fall, but the chambers failed to reconcile the bills (AP/Carlisle Sentinel, 4/10). White said the expectation now that the ACA will go into full effect "will put [the new bill] on the fast track" (CBS Philly, 4/10).