Tuesday marked the beginning of debates in Nebraska regarding a bill that would ban private insurers from cover the cost of abortions unless customers purchased a separate policy. One of the provisions of the bill would limit insurance coverage of abortions that would have been covered from policies offered by insurance exchange programs. The bill was introduced by Senator Beau McCoy and lawmakers will be debating the proposal for some time.
Though abortions would be permitted to preserve the life of the mother, no exceptions are made for instances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. Senator Brenda Council of Omaha has expressed that she is “seriously troubled” by the lack of exception for such acts and worries that it will encourage women to seek out “back ally” abortions.
Five other states already have provisions that ban insurance companies from covering abortions. Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, North Dakota and Oklahoma have established laws that restrict coverage of abortions on all plans written in the state. Recently, Rhode Island had attempted follow suit with a similar law that was rebuked in court.
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Legislation in these states also blocks the federally mandated insurance exchange programs from offering coverage plans that include abortion in some way.
Senator Council warns that the bill will do more harm than good. Citing an event in Philadelphia in which a doctor is facing eight counts of murders charges for conducting a faulty abortion, Council is urging lawmakers to reconsider the ramifications of the bill.
The House adjourned before any actions could be taken regarding the legislation.