Pro-women's reproductive rights groups were outraged that Senate Bill 98 passed the House Insurance Committee hearing without any addendums they were asking for.
Instead, the committee corrected some language in the bill that pertained to the Affordable Care Act. Georgia does not have a state exchange program for health insurance through the federal government. If Georgia changed that, this bill would still ban state insurance funding of abortions. The other change, codified Governor Nathan Deal's executive order that went into effect Jan. 1. That order is similar to the bill, in that, it cut all funding for state employees' insurance programs to cover abortions. If Deal is voted out of office before the bill was passed into law, a new governor could come in and overwrite his order.
Only three members of the hearing voted against the changes.
"Thank you for standing up to the women of Georgia," Jackie Rodriguez yelled out after their vote. Rodriguez was quickly told to respect members of the committee and refrain from outbursts of emotion. Rodriguez said the bill is a farce.
"This is not about insurance in Georgia," Rodriguez said. "This is about women and an attack on their reproductive rights."
Other opponents of the bill said there needs to be additional language to prevent victims of crimes.
"The bill contains no exception for victims of rape and incest that might become pregnant as a result of the assault," Shelley Senterfitt said.
Senterfitt is with the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
"So, we worry that, without an exception, it means insurance coverage for abortion services would not be available to those victims," Senterfitt said. "If, she were to become pregnant from the assault we believe it would be re-victimizing her to force her to carry the child to term if that is not the choice she wants to make."
The bill now goes to House Rules Committee, then the House of Representatives for their vote.
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Thursday, March 27 2014 8:56 PM EDT2014-03-28 00:56:41 GMT
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