By Daniel McConchie
Saturday, the Mississippi House passed a bill to opt the state out of the abortion mandate in the federal health care bill, and today the final procedural hurdle was cleared enabling the bill to go to Governor Barbour for signature.
Even though the rules of the legislature typically don’t allow a bill of this sort to be considered at this point in the legislative year, both the House and Senate voted to suspend the rules in order to allow this important bill to be considered and passed.
Senate Sponsor Alan Nunnelee sent an email to AUL today stating, “I’m glad to be a part of Mississippi leading the way to make sure that no insurance policy provided through the national health plan will cover abortion. We are a pro life state, and this bill is another way of expressing our values.”
The bill’s champion in the House, Rep. Philip Gunn, said, “The assistance provided to us by Americans United for Life has been invaluable in our work to prevent the hard-earned tax dollars of Mississippians from paying for abortions. We offer our sincere thanks and look forward to seeing this critical legislation signed into law by Governor Barbour.”
AUL’s press release:
Today, Mississippi became the third state to pass legislation opting-out of abortion coverage mandates in the new health care reform law, sending Governor Haley Barbour a bill that he is expected to sign. This was a major victory for the state and for Americans United for Life. Legislators used AUL’s model “Abortion-Mandate Opt-Out Act” in drafting their version of this new legislation.
“The assistance provided to us by Americans United for Life has been invaluable in our work to prevent the hard-earned tax dollars of Mississippians from paying for abortions,” said Mississippi Representative Philip Gunn, one of the legislation’s chief proponents. “We offer our sincere thanks and look forward to seeing this critical legislation signed into law by Governor Barbour.”
Mary Harned, Staff Counsel with Americans United for Life stated, “This is just the beginning. States across the country are moving ahead on similar measures to opt-out of providing insurance coverage for abortion and we look forward to more successes as states continue to express their opposition to this unpopular mandate.”
Legislatures in Arizona and Tennessee have already passed similar bills. Governor Haley Barbour is expected to sign the measure. AUL has been in contact with elected leaders and groups in 28 states on opting-out of the abortion mandate.