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Pennsylvania House Passes Abortion ‘Opt Out’ Bill

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(The Pennsylvania capitol, in Harrisburg.  File photo)

(The Pennsylvania capitol, in Harrisburg. File photo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) - The state House has passed and sent to the Senate a bill that would have Pennsylvania “opt out” of coverage for most abortions under the new federal health care law, as it is allowed to do.

The bill passed by the House would prevent coverage for elective abortions as part of the insurance exchanges being established under the federal health care law. Supporters say they want to prevent tax dollars from funding abortion coverage; Allegheny County Democrat Dan Frankel opposes the measure.

“It is clear to me that Commonwealth funds will not go to fund abortion access within the exchange regardless of whether or not this legislation passes.”

But Republican Matt Baker says tax dollars are involved.

“Every plan offered through the exchange benefits in some way from public funding. That is the purpose of the affordable care act.”

The bill passed the House with bi-partisan support. A state Senate committee has already approved a similar bill. A spokesman for the majority leader says he expects the full Senate will consider the issue but can’t say when.

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