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States Continue to ‘Opt-Out’

It’s only been 2.5 months since the health care bill was signed into law, but states are continuing to opt-out of the abortion-mandate in the federal health care law.

In Florida, Governor Crist is debating whether to sign a bill addressing health care that contains the opt-out and a mandate that women be given the opportunity to view an ultrasound prior to abortion.  Rumor is that he’s leaning toward vetoing the bill, but calls and emails from concerned pro-life Floridians are pouring into his office, so he may be reconsidering.

In Missouri, SB 793 will soon hit Governor Nixon’s desk.  He has yet to make any statement concerning the bill that not only opt-out of the abortion mandate, but dramatically enhances the state’s informed consent rules.  If Governor Nixon vetos the bill, it is widely expected that the legislature will override it.

And in Louisiana, the legislature is expected to act soon to approve HB 1247 and Governor Jindal is expected to quickly sign it.  Local activists are pushing to be the fourth state where the opt-out becomes law behind Arizona, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

So far, the opt-out has passed six different state legislatures, and that number will likely soon rise to seven.  This progress is remarkable given that the federal health care law was signed at a time when the legislative calendars in most states didn’t permit action on this bill this year.  I predict that next year we will see the number of states opting-out to jump dramatically.