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Legislation would bar tax-funded abortion coverage in Ohio

COLUMBUS - Three Cincinnati-area lawmakers introduced state legislation Monday that would prohibit health insurance coverage for abortion if it's subsidized with state or federal tax money.




Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio - an organization that supports abortion rights - called the proposal extremely restrictive because it would keep women from buying health insurance that includes coverage for abortion once the federal health reform plan takes effect in 2014.

"It's ludicrous," Copeland said.

Identical bills were introduced Monday by state Sen. Gary Cates, a Republican from West Chester, and in the Ohio House as co-sponsored by Republican Reps. Joseph Uecker of Loveland and Danny Bubp of West Union.

Cates said it's doubtful the newly introduced legislation will be debated before a summer recess next month. But the topic is likely to get more support in the GOP-controlled Senate than the Ohio House, which is led by Democrats.

"This is basically to continue not allowing taxpayer dollars to fund and pay for abortions," Cates said. "It doesn't target any particular group of people. It keeps the spirit of the (federal) Hyde amendment intact."

But Copeland said Cates' bill actually resembles an unsuccessful federal amendment introduced by U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, a Democrat from Michigan.

"This bill is much, much more serious. It's discrimination. It ticks me off," Copeland said.

Copeland said any legislator who minimizes the bill's impact on legal abortions is lying.

In states where such legislation passes, insurance companies would not be able to offer coverage if it includes abortion.

A similar state law recently was enacted in Tennessee and proposed in Missouri.

The one-page bill introduced Monday in Ohio is vague, but in past legislative sessions bills restricting abortion have been amended during the committee process to detail new restrictions or offer additional legal guidelines.


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