Pa. House OKs abortion coverage limits
BY MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press
HARRISBURG -- A bill to prevent coverage for most abortions under the insurance marketplace being set up as part of the federal health care overhaul is on its way to the Pennsylvania Senate after approval Tuesday by the House.
The House voted 144-53 in favor of the proposal, which would provide exceptions only for rape, incest or when the mother's life is in danger.
Representing Lancaster County, Republican Reps. Ryan Aument, Bryan Cutler, Gordon Denlinger, Mindy Fee, Keith Griener, David Hickernell and Steven Mentzer all voted for the measure. Democratic Rep. Mike Sturla voted against it.
During hours of heated debate, Democratic opponents portrayed the measure as a new restriction on reproductive rights, and a needless risk to women's health.
Republicans described it as a continuation of the state's longstanding policy against taxpayer-funded abortions.
"No tax dollars are used for elective abortions in Pennsylvania," said Rep. Matt Baker, R-Bradford.
"We want to keep it that way."
The bill would not allow people, even using their own money, to buy health coverage that includes abortion services through the Affordable Care Act's marketplace, known as an exchange.
Women could attempt to obtain coverage outside the exchange on their own, but critics said such policies are not available and there is no reason to think they will be.