Ohio Bill Would Ban Insurance Coverage of Most Abortions and Contraception

A bill introduced Wednesday in the Ohio legislature would ban both public and private insurance providers from covering almost all abortions, and potentially many forms of contraception.

Introduced by state Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township), HB 351 would prohibit any insurance policy in the state from covering abortions except in cases of ectopic, or tubal, pregnancies. Termination of any other life-threatening pregnancies, and pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, would not be covered. Public hospitals would also be banned from performing any abortions except those resulting from ectopic pregnancies.

The bill’s definition of “abortion services” also includes “drugs or devices used to prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum,” which could effectively ban coverage of birth control pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and emergency contraception.

“So much about this bill is troubling,” Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, told RH Reality Check. “They’re trying to redefine what a therapeutic abortion is. … There are a lot of other things that can go wrong in a pregnancy that can endanger a woman’s life.” (A therapeutic abortion is one performed to save the life or preserve the health of the pregnant person.)

Copeland noted that most of the best OB-GYNs who deal with high-risk pregnancies work in public hospitals, dealing another blow to women whose lives could be in danger from their pregnancies.

Victims of rape or incest would be forced to pay out-of-pocket for their abortions under the bill, and they would have to find a private hospital willing to perform the procedure.

Currently in Ohio, private insurers can offer coverage for both therapeutic and elective abortions. Medicaid recipients, government employees, and other women insured by the state government only receive coverage for abortions in cases of rape or incest and life endangerment.

Rep. Becker has also co-sponsored bills to cut back Medicaid funding and ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

“[State legislators] are turning their backs on women who have the most dire need of abortion care, and at the same time jeopardizing access to contraception,” Copeland said. “They’re revealing their true agenda on women’s health.”

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  • fiona64

    More legislators practicing medicine without a license …

  • colleen2

    It’s really impossible to deny that the religious right wishes to dramatically increase the maternal mortality rate. They wish to make pregnancy more dangerous than warfare.

  • http://bastardette.blogspot.com Marley Greiner

    So now they are trying to dictate to private corporations what services they can offer. So much for small government. The funny part about this is that years ago when I had insurance through the company I worked for they covered both contraceptive and abortion payments and were proud of it.

  • lady_black

    Of course, NONE of this will ever pass constitutional muster. NONE of it.

  • L-dan

    So basically we’re back to “if you’re a woman, you have to pay more for insurance?”


    • dance commander

      Yes because anything else is theft from men. If women were not so selfish with their pregnancies and all, they would not need to steal from men. It is the “greatest transfer of wealth in history” – haven’t you heard?

      • Ella Warnock

        Well, you know we can’t do anything right. :-p

  • JamieHaman

    Easy peasy. Don’t be a victim of rape or incest. Don’t be less than perfectly healthy. Don’t be a woman. No problem.

  • Mpls_Me

    Wouldn’t this waste of time end up being found unconstitutional in the courts anyway? Why do they do this? Waste all their time and taxpayer $$ on things they know will be challenged and thrown out anyway?

  • CT14

    This is a bill to kill women.

    Therapeutic abortions are later term abortions of a WANTED child in a pregnancy gone wrong. This bill will end up killing women who could be saved and ending all future fertility for others, when that ability to have another child could easily be preserved.

    There is nothing ethical in this law. It punishes women who have a pregnancy that goes wrong through no fault of their own.

    • colleen2

      It’s a bill that demands ‘faith based’ human sacrifice and those sacrificed will always be women. What a primitive and savage religion.

  • CT14

    It also bans therapeutic abortions for eclampsia, placental abruption, death of the fetus, and other common late term complications. It will kill women without “saving” a single fetus.