Tennessee House Chambers Image via Wikipedia
By Peter J. Smith
NASHVILLE, Tennessee, April 13, 2010 ( LifeSiteNews.com) – A strong bipartisan majority in the Tennessee House of Representatives voted to exercise its right to opt the state out of the abortion mandate in the new national health care reform law. The measure approved by the House forbids insurance companies receiving public subsidies in the state-run health exchange from offering or requiring abortion coverage.
The House passed HB 2681 on the floor Monday by an overwhelming 70 votes in favor, with 23 against. The legislation states: "No health care plan required to be established in this state through an exchange pursuant to federal health care reform legislation enacted by the 111th Congress shall offer coverage for abortion services." (Click here for the list of votes.)
The bill will not alter the state's TennCare program, which provides Medicaid subsidies for abortions only in the cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother as mandated by federal law.
Representative Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) was singled out for praise by Tennessee Right to Life (TRTL) for sponsoring the legislation and bringing it forward. Hill was joined by 43 other co-sponsors on the bill.
"Regardless of the attacks brought by pro-abortion activists, Rep. Hill remained focused on the mission of protecting unborn children and providing real help and alternatives to women and families in need," said Brian Harris, president of TRTL.
Harris also thanked "each pro-life member for their leadership and their courage" in standing up for the state's strong pro-life values.
"Following years of a pro-abortion minority squelching the voices of the majority, our legislators have boldly expressed our state's commitment to life," he said.
The Senate Commerce committee on Wednesday will consider companion legislation to the House bill, SB 2686. The majority of pro-life lawmakers are expected to prevail.
See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
States Consider Legislative Plan to Opt-Out of ObamaCare's Abortion Mandate