Virginia House Democrats have introduced two bills expanding healthcare coverage of abortions. HB 1922, introduced by Delegate Cia Price (D-Newport News) would expand Medicaid abortion coverage and require private employers who offer health coverage to cover abortions. HB 1896, introduced by Delegate Sally Hudson (D-Charlottesville), removes a Virginia prohibition of abortion coverage under Obamacare.
The bills are attracting attention from Virginia pro-life organizations.
The Virginia Society for Human Life (VSHL) notes, “[HB 1922] will require that any private employer who offers health insurance to employees must provide abortion coverage under the plans offered. The only exception to any such new rule would be churches or church-connected schools, etc. There is no exception for employers or other organizations that may have ethical, not religious objections to abortion.”
According to the Family Foundation, the bill would violate U.S. Supreme Court precedent from Burwell v. Hobby Lobby which found that businesses have religious liberty rights protecting them from mandates to provide contraception.
HB 1922 does allow health carriers to offer religious employers plans that do not cover abortion.
“But not all religious employers qualify, even for this. For example, pro-life organizations would be required to pay for abortions through their employer health insurance plans because they do not meet the bill’s definition of a ‘religious employer,” says a release from the Family Foundation.
“Under [HB 1922], Virginia taxpayers would be required to fund elective abortions for anyone enrolled in a state-funded medical assistance programs like Medicaid, which is around 1.5 million Virginians. And in addition to that, it even forces taxpayers to fund abortions, contraception, and sterilizations for non-citizens illegally present and not eligible for Medicaid,” the Family Foundation states.
The VSHL warns that HB 1896 allows taxpayer coverage of abortions through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare.) “[The bill] removes the restriction on funding abortion in healthcare plans offered in Virginia under the Affordable Health Care act,” a recent VSHL email blast warns. “That means that Virginians will be required to pay for elective abortions. and it is doubtful that any plans will be allowed to stay in the system if they do not cover abortion costs. Virginians seeking legitimate health care will be unable to find affordable care that is not tainted by abortion.”
In the email, VSHL president Olivia Turner said, “Even if you think your legislators are very pro-abortion, remember this is an election year. Our comments matter this year! ”
– – –