Some members of the Pennsylvania legislature have been putting up a fight over whether coverage for abortion should be included in the state’s health-care exchange, even if the purchaser pays for additional coverage out-of-pocket. Claiming the need to “protect” other taxpayers from subsidizing abortion services, some lawmakers are calling the exchange itself a “taxpayer-funded” resource, because taxpayer resources are being used to help implement it.
One state lawmaker is arguing that patients shouldn’t be able to use their own personal funds to buy coverage separate from state-paid funds, because that would be too much oversight for a state agency to handle. According to the Associated Press, state Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair) said during debate that if “the government could not be trusted to properly regulate abortion clinics”—meaning Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s clinic—”it cannot be trusted to ensure that only private dollars are used to purchase abortion coverage through the exchanges.”
Eichelberger is a strong abortion opponent who demanded hearings over Gosnell’s illegal practice when his actions were first discovered in 2011 and called for a probe into whether any “public money” went to the clinic. Now, he’s asking for supporters to “pray” for the new, stricter funding law to pass, citing Gosnell.
Women went to Gosnell’s clinic because, among other reasons, they could not afford to go anywhere else. Between the regulations that are shutting down legal clinics and the additional roadblocks to ensure abortion procedures are as expensive as possible, lawmakers continue to use Gosnell’s name as a means of cutting off access to safe abortion care. As reproductive health advocates have argued, this may end up creating more Gosnells, rather than eliminating them.