Lawmakers vote down abortion coverage under federal plan

Posted at 7:44 PM, Apr 03, 2013

RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) -- Both the House of Delegates and State Senate voted to ban abortion being covered in the new federal health exchange insurance plans set to take affect in 2014.

The House voted 55-37-1. The Senate passed it 20-19.

The bill is an amendment of Governor Bob McDonnell. The language prohibits an abortion being covered through a health insurance plan if that plan is set up through a federal health exchange.

Virginia is set to implement that federal health exchange to comply with President Obama's Affordable Care Act in 2014. Abortions would be allowed to be covered if the health of the mother is endangered or an alleged rape or incest occurs.

The one "present" vote in the House was Delegate Bob Marshall who argued the language was not tough enough.

"I find it really unfortunate that the governor has done this," Marshall told CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George.

"When you put alleged in front of it your inviting abuse," Marshall added.

Marshall wanted an all out ban on abortions being covered by health insurance plans if those plans are set up through the federal exchange.

For Pro-life activists, this is a huge victory says political experts. .

"The amendment is very much a priority for us it is the most important pro-life vote of this session," Olivia Gas Turner, President of the Virginia Society of Human Life, said.

Democrats are reacting negatively to the news. DPVA Chair Del. Chaniele Herring issued the following statement:

"This extreme amendment is the latest example of Virginia Republicans injecting themselves into decisions that should be between a woman and her doctor.

Bob McDonnell and his Republican allies have no place banning any Virginian from purchasing coverage for legal health care procedures with their own money.

It's time for Republicans to focus on issues that make people's lives better instead of finding new ways to limit women's health care access and damage the reputation of this Commonwealth."