A new Georgia law that bans insurance coverage of abortion for both state employees and anyone buying coverage via the state exchange that was established as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect last week.
SB 98, known as the “Federal Abortion Mandate Opt-Out Act,” was passed along mostly partisan lines. On final passage, only two state senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill and not a single Republican voted against it.
The law, signed by Republican Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal in April, includes no exceptions for rape or incest and only a narrow health exception that covers “medical emergencies.”
State Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) told the CBS affiliate in Atlanta that the law will restrict access to abortion care. “It’s blocking woman from making their private medical decisions including contraception. It’s creating a barrier to women having access to birth control. This law is designed to control women and limit their choices,” Orrock said.
Georgia is the 25th state to ban abortion coverage on the ACA exchanges.
Deal also refused to expand Medicaid under the ACA, and signed a bill that requires approval of the legislature to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid. A recent White House report found that expansion of Medicaid would extend health insurance access to 478,000 people in Georgia.