Closing the door on new abortion restrictions

The crowd of hundreds of anti-abortion activists gathered outside the statehouse Wednesday gave Gov. Nathan Deal polite applause when he praised the state’s “strong” position on abortion. But after the brief address he poured cold water on a new legislative push that would tighten restrictions.

When a measure that would ban abortion coverage in state employee insurance policies  fizzled near the end of last year’s session, the governor found an executive branch work-around.

By August, the state department of community health had voted to end insurance coverage of abortion in most cases for the hundreds of thousands of public employees and their families on their plans.

Anti-abortion activists want him to go a step further. They have put their muscle behind Senate Bill 98, which would bar insurance coverage for the procedure in policies approved by the state government, as well as through the federal government under the Affordable Care Act.

Deal said Wednesday that the first thrust – the part of the legislation involving state government policies – “we took care of administratively last year.” As for the part about Obamacare, Deal said, he hasn’t specifically vetted it.

When pressed on whether he thinks it needs a legislative fix, he added this:

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I think we’ve taken care of it.”

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