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Louisiana takes on ObamaCare
Governor Jindal Makes Louisiana Fourth to Opt Out of Abortion $ in Health Care
by Steven Ertelt
July 7, 2010
Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) -- Governor Bobby Jindal has made the state of Louisiana the fourth to opt out of some of the abortion funding found in the government-run health care law President Barack Obama signed. The Louisiana Senate passed its opt out bill 28-3 after the House approved it by a wide margin.
HB 1247, authored by Representative Frank Hoffman and carried on the Senate floor by Senator Gerald Long, passed in the Senate, adds Louisiana to the list of states opting out along with Arizona, Tennessee and Mississippi.
The law exempts the state from the abortion mandate in the recently-enacted federal health care reform law.
Denise Burke, an attorney with Americans United for Life, explained what it does.
"Specifically, the new law prohibits health insurers participating in the state-run health insurance exchange (scheduled to go into effect in 2014) from offering plans or policies that cover abortions except in rare cases in which the mother’s life is in danger," she said.
Burke applauded the four states that "have acted to protect life and to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions – a practice opposed by the vast majority of Americans."
"Governor Jindal and our allies in Louisiana are to be congratulated on their bold leadership in support of life. Clearly, Louisiana has earned its top-spot in AUL’s annual ranking of the most pro-life states and has again set the standard for other states to follow," she informed LifeNews.com.
She said the day after Congress passed the health care reform legislation, AUL made its “Federal Abortion-Mandate Opt-Out Act” available to lawmakers in all 50 states.
"We continue to work with dozens of states that are considering opt-out legislation either this year or when their legislative sessions reconvene in 2011," she said.
Benjamin Clapper, the executive director of the Louisiana Right to Life Federation, told LifeNews.com after the state legislature approved the bill that "the Louisiana legislature, in accord with our people, have resoundingly sent a message to our nation that abortion is not health care."
"We have helped initiate a growing state-by-state movement declaring that health care reform should not be used to expand abortion," he said.
When Congress passed the government-run health care bill, it did so without any limits on abortion funding and language mandating taxpayer financing of abortion in certain circumstances.
Obama eventually issued a controversial executive order supposedly taking the abortion funding issue off the table.
However, virtually every pro-life group said it would not mitigate the abortion funding because it doesn't have the effect of law, could be reversed in the future, and because it didn't tackle much of the abortion funding in the bill. The Obama administration could also ignore the order and not put it in place when the health care law goes into effect.
Under the new health care law, states will be in charge of their own health care exchanges that are available for individuals and small businesses. The bill will keep any insurance plans on the Louisiana exchange from offering abortion coverage.
The exchange doesn't go into effect until 2014 and states are filing lawsuits seeking to stop the pro-abortion health care bill in its other pro-abortion provisions entirety, but states are moving now to exercise their right to opt out of some of the abortion funding.
Dorinda Bordlee, Senior Counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund and a former Louisiana-based pro-life attorney, also commented on passage.
Her group has assisted Louisiana and several other states "in drafting legislation to limit the harm of Obamacare by prohibiting the coverage of elective abortion in health plans included in the future tax-subsidized state exchanges."