February 25, 2014 — A Georgia Senate panel has advanced a measure (SB 98) that would ban abortion coverage in health plans offered by the state and private plans sold through the federal health insurance marketplace, the Georgia Health News/Augusta Chronicle reports (Craig, Georgia Health News/Augusta Chronicle, 2/21). The measure now heads to the full state Senate (Simms, GPB News, 2/21).
State Sen. Judson Hill (R), the bill's sponsor, said the legislation aims to ensure that people who receive federal subsidies toward purchasing coverage under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) cannot select plans that include abortion coverage (Georgia Health News/Augusta Chronicle, 2/21). President Obama in 2010 signed an executive order stipulating that the ACA does not provide public funding for abortions.
The Georgia bill also would ban state health plans from covering abortion services, although the State Health Benefit Plan does not currently include the coverage, according to GPB News.
State Sen. Nan Orrock (D) said the bill violates women's privacy, adding, "Abortion is a medical procedure just like countless other medical procedures ... and what they're doing is singling out this procedure and treating it differently from all other medical procedures."
Hill argued, "It's nothing to do with whether or not you can have [an abortion] and the rights to have [an abortion] or not" (GPB News, 2/21).