Posted: 12:20 pm Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
By Greg Bluestein
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.”
About the Author
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He joined the newspaper in June 2012 after spending seven years with the Atlanta bureau of The Associated Press. He also contributes to the AJC's Political Insider blog. Bluestein has traveled to Haiti with President Jimmy Carter, journeyed to Panama with Gov. Nathan Deal and tracked down a suspected Ponzi schemer in suburban Kansas. He spent weeks in Louisiana covering the Gulf Oil Spill, became an unwitting expert on capital punishment after witnessing almost a dozen executions in Georgia's death chamber and was part of award-winning teams that descended upon the biggest breaking news events in the Southeast. Bluestein has covered a range of beats, including environment, legal affairs and economic development. He's now the AJC's political writer, charged with covering the intricacies of Georgia's lively government on the newspaper's front pages and in the Political Insider blog. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two daughters.