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South Carolina House opts out of abortion insurance; protects the conscience rights of health care workers; protects infants born alive

by | Mar 31, 2011

By Holly Gatling, Executive Director
South Carolina Citizens for Life

COLUMBIA,S.C. – In action Tuesday the South Carolina House by wide margins passed legislation that keeps abortion out of government and private health insurance, protects the conscience rights of health care professionals, and protects infants born alive in South Carolina.

“The closer we get to national health care, the more important it is that we have people who believe in the sanctity of life,” said pro-life leader, Rep. Greg Delleney, R-Chester, chief sponsor of the legislation. The bill passed 69-41.  The Born-Alive Infant Protection bill passed 91-22.   

“We do not need to make pro-life people choose between a career in the health care field and their conscience,” Rep. Delleney said. “Also with the federal opt out provision, we need to make sure that people who believe in the sanctity of life don’t have to pay for someone else’s elective abortions.  At the same time we need to make sure that those people who believe in the sanctity of human life who are buying coverage on the open market aren’t forced to buy elective abortion coverage.  If someone wants elective abortion coverage, they should purchase that coverage on their own.”  The insurance policy bill prohibits private insurance companies from covering abortion except by what is called a separate rider.  Abortion insurance would be available for those who purchase it with a separate policy.

No insurance company is forced to provide abortion coverage. But until the S.C. Senate passes the House bill, many South Carolinians who find abortion morally objectionable and have a group policy that covers abortion pay premiums that cover abortions for someone else.

Swiftly defeating 20 amendments intended to weaken the opt-out bill, pro-life House members endured about three hours of attacks during debate by pro-abortion members.  Taking the floor, militant pro-abortion lawmaker Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, at one point huffily groused, “You have demonstrated you have zero respect for a woman’s right to chose.”  She said she would like to be a “fly on the pearly gates” so she could observe St. Peter denying pro-life Christians entrance into Heaven.

Lisa Van Riper, president of South Carolina Citizens for Life, said of the Born-Alive Infant Protection bill, “By its vote today, the House has said no child should be discriminated against due to the circumstances of its birth.”  On the insurance coverage/conscience protection legislation she said, “I think today that we have now protected a true choice decision that allows people the option not to co-mingle tax funds or private funds that may go to the destruction of innocent human life.  We have guaranteed the choice of health care workers not to violate their conscience.”

The action Tuesday was second reading of the bills which includes debate. On Wednesday the bills are expected to receive the perfunctory third reading and then move to the S.C. Senate. The South Carolina Citizens for Life office will provide the House members’ voting records on passage of the two bills and amendments on our website.

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