A new Ohio bill would ban most private insurance coverage for abortions. Opponents say it would also ban effective methods of birth control.
One-fifth of representatives in the House, all Republicans, have signed onto House Bill 182 sponsored by state Rep. John Becker (R-Union Twp.) that would prohibit most insurance companies from offering coverage for abortion services.
“The intent is to save lives and reduce the cost of employers and employees health care insurance," Becker says.
The bill would ban nontherapeutic abortions that include "drugs or devices used to prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum.”
Becker says the bill also speaks to coverage of ectopic or tubal pregnancies where the fertilized egg attaches outside of the womb.
“Part of that treatment would be removing that embryo from the fallopian tube and reinserting it in the uterus so that is defined as not an abortion under this bill," Becker explains.
“That doesn’t exist in the realm of treatment for ectopic pregnancy," argues says Jaime Miracle, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. "You can’t just re-implant. It’s not a medical thing."
She says, under this bill, women would have to wait until their very lives were in danger to get an abortion in the case of an ectopic pregnancy.
“This bill will have grave impacts on Ohio’s infant and maternal mortality rates," Miracle says.
That’s not all, Miracle says. She argues it will ban insurance from covering many popular methods of birth control.
“Birth control pills, IUDs and other methods of birth control like that – the bill states that any birth control that could act to stop a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus is considered an abortion under this bill," Miracle says.
Becker insists his bill does not target birth control.
“When you get into the contraception and abortifacients, that’s clearly not my area of expertise, but I suppose, if it were true that what we typically known as the pill would be classified as an abortifacient, then I would imagine the drug manufacturers would reformulate it so it’s no longer an abortifacient and is strictly a contraceptive," Becker says.
This bill just had its first hearing in an Ohio House committee. If it goes further, supporters, opponents and medical professionals will have the opportunity to testify.
Less than a month ago, Ohio lawmakers passed and Gov. Mike DeWine signed a "heartbeat" law that bans abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy - at the point a fetal heartbeat can be detected. That's before many women even know they're pregnant. Pro-choice groups have pledged to sue.