By Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — A state senate committee in Harrisburg has given its approval to a bill that would have Pennsylvania opt out of abortion coverage as part of the new federal health care law taking effect.
The new federal law allows states to prohibit insurers who participate in taxpayer-subsidized health insurance exchanges from covering elective abortions.
Today, a divided Senate Banking and Insurance Committee approved a bill to have Pennsylvania go that route.
State senator Pat Vance, a suburban Harrisburg Republican, was among those objecting.
“I wish that there was some way we could reach a compromise and look at what might happen to a woman’s health instead of being viewed as totally badgering women,” he said.
Sen. Mike Stack (D-Phila.) also opposes the measure, in part because he thinks it should provide exceptions for situations in which there is “substantial risk” to a woman’s health.
“Substantial risk could be determined by a woman’s physician,” Stack says.
The sponsor of the Senate bill, Republican Don White, says the 8-5 committee vote was closer than when the measure came up in the last session. But he believes the fact that the health care law is more certain to take effect will add pressure to get it through this time.
“I think that will put this on the fast track,” he said.
Both the state House and Senate approved the idea in the last session but failed to pass identical bills.