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Miss. opts out of health care abortions

WASHINGTON (BP)–Mississippi has become the third state to opt out of a provision in the new federal health care law that would require coverage for abortion in “insurance exchanges.”

“Mississippi continues to be the safest place to be an unborn child in America today,” Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, said when he signed the bill May 24. “This bill ensures that taxpayers’ money will not fund abortions if the health insurance exchanges are implemented under the federal health care law.”

The law allows states to opt out and bar insurance plans that cover abortions from participating in their exchanges.

Mississippi, which Americans United for Life has ranked as the fifth most pro-life state in the country, joined Arizona and Tennessee in barring the use of federal funds for insurance plans that cover abortions. The health care reform measure signed into law by President Obama in March requires “insurance exchanges” in each state to offer at least one plan that covers abortion and one plan that does not, unless the state prohibits insurance plans that cover abortions from participating in their exchanges.

The insurance exchanges are to be implemented in 2014.

The legislatures of Florida and Missouri have approved opt-out bills, but the governors have yet to act on the measures, according to AUL.

Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat, prevented Oklahoma from becoming the fourth state to opt out by vetoing a bill May 26. The Oklahoma legislature was unable to attempt an override of the veto before the legislature adjourned for the year May 28.

On May 25, however, the Oklahoma legislature completed an override of Henry’s veto of an abortion reporting bill supported by pro-life advocates.
Compiled by Baptist Press Washington bureau chief Tom Strode.

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