May 17, 2013 — The North Carolina House on Thursday approved a measure (HB 730) that would prohibit health plans offered through the state's health insurance marketplace from covering abortion, the AP/Henderson Times-News reports. The bill now heads to the Senate (AP/Henderson Times-News, 5/16).
The measure also would prohibit city and county governments' health plans from including abortion coverage that exceeds that offered through the state employee health plan. The state employee health plan covers abortion only in instances of rape, incest or when a woman's life is in danger (WRAL, 5/15).
In addition, the bill would allow all health care professionals to refuse to participate in abortion care. Current law only specifies that nurses and physicians may refuse to provide such care (Jarvis, Raleigh News & Observer, 5/15).
House Drops Contraception Provision
The bill originally included language that would have allowed "any employer, whether incorporated or not and whether for-profit or not, that has a religious, moral, or ethical objection" to contraception to exclude contraceptive coverage from its health plan.
House lawmakers removed the provision from the bill on Wednesday after it passed out of committee. State Rep. Bob Steinburg (R) warned the panel that the provision could hurt the bill's prospects on the House floor (WRAL, 5/15).
"To suggest that in the 21st century that women would be prevented from having access to birth control -- even as far to the right as I am -- is going off the cliff. This is going too far," he said (Raleigh News & Observer, 5/15).