State News Round-Up
Anti-choice legislators in the states continue to restrict women’s access to abortion care by passing bills that ban health insurance coverage for abortion, interfere in the doctor-patient relationship, and place an undue burden on both women and their health care providers.
Last week, the Tennessee House Commerce Committee passed a bill that would eliminate insurance coverage for abortion care from a health insurance exchange slated to go into effect in 2014. Several states are considering a variety of different restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion care under the new structure created by federal health care reform.
The Tennessee legislature also approved a bill that would require abortion clinics to post signs that read, in part, “It is against the law for anyone, regardless of the person’s relationship to you, to coerce you into having or to force you to have an abortion.” A similar measure was recently passed in Georgia. These bills are unnecessary, as abortion providers already work extensively with their patients to determine that their decision is voluntary and informed.
In Oklahoma, Governor Brad Henry signed into law three separate anti-choice bills. The statutes outlaw gender-specific abortion; regulate the provision of medical abortion; and create the Freedom of Conscience Act, which says employers “cannot discriminate against an employee by refusing to accommodate the religious beliefs of said person as it pertains to abortion, human embryos, fetal transplants or euthanasia.”