The Wisconsin Assembly has voted to ban private insurance companies from including coverage for abortion in health insurance plans. They have voted to ban their state’s health insurance exchange from including plans that provide coverage for abortion. The Assembly also voted to ban schools from teaching anything other than abstinence-only in their sex education classes.
This week, the Wisconsin Assembly voted 61 – 34 to ban private health insurance companies from providing coverage for abortion in the Wisconsin health insurance exchanges. The federal laws regarding health insurance exchanges allow states the option to prohibit coverage for abortion in the insurance plans that are a part of the exchanges.
It is worth noting that Wisconsin will still allow health insurance plans that are covering abortion under the terms in the Hyde Amendment to be included in the exchanges. The Hyde Amendment allows insurance plans to cover abortions in the case of rape, incest, or if the health of the mother is at risk. Wisconsin will allow insurance plans to cover the cost of abortion in those types of situations.
It is worth noting that the health insurance exchanges are designed to be used by individuals, (and some small businesses) to find affordable health insurance. This means that Wisconsin has passed a law that eliminates insurance coverage for abortion services from the health plans of individual citizens who are purchasing health insurance from private insurance companies, and who are paying for that insurance with their own money. This is not about banning coverage for abortion in employer-sponsored health plans, or from public plans.
At the same time, the Wisconsin Assembly voted 60 – 34 to overturn the Healthy Young Act. This act required Wisconsin public schools to teach sex education classes that included information about contraception and information about abstinence-centered education.
Now that the Healthy Young Act has been overturned, public schools in Wisconsin are only allowed to present abstinence-only sex education classes. The schools are banned from discussing anything about contraception.
So, let me make this perfectly clear. Wisconsin has banned private insurance companies from including coverage for abortion in health insurance plans, (except in cases of rape, incest, or if the health of the mother is at risk). Wisconsin also banned public schools from educating students about contraception. What do you predict the results of these two decisions will be?
Image by Joshua Mayer on Flickr