by Doug Richards, 11Alive.com (WXIA-TV)
ATLANTA -- Health insurance for state employees covers abortion, according to the agency that administers the health plan. Despite the state's political shift over the last decade to the Republican party -- which generally opposes abortion -- that hasn't changed. A group of state senators would like to change that.
They've filed a bill
that would revise state employee insurance benefits so that "no abortion coverage shall be provided." The measure is backed by Georgia Right to Life, whose spokeswoman Suzanne Ward, says the argument is simple.
"Georgia Right to Life contends that no abortion should be paid for by taxpayer dollars," Ward said.
Abortion is an issue that divided lawmakers last year -- compelling a walkout by women opposed to a bill restricting abortion to the first 20 weeks after conception.
There have been previous unsuccessful efforts to change the abortion benefits for state employees. This one will draw fierce opposition as well.
"Now they're trying to dictate to you that you don't really have the health choices that your doctor might recommend covered by the state plan," said Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta). "It's part of the war on women. And it's part of the war on public employees."
It's unclear how much traction this bill will get this legislative session. One of the cosponsors, though, is the chairman of the Senate Republican caucus -- indicating at least some of the party's leadership thinks it's time modify state employees health coverage to get in line with party doctrine.