Mo. Senate committee passes limits to abortion coverage

Jefferson City, Mo. – A Missouri Senate committee has moved quickly to bar insurance companies from providing coverage for abortions, following Sunday's health care overhaul passed by Congress.

The national health care bill creates new insurance purchasing pools, called exchanges, that include abortion coverage, but it also allows states to exclude such coverage from those pools. And the Missouri Senate's Insurance Committee has approved legislation doing just that.

It's sponsored by State Senator Scott Rupp (R, Wentzville).

"We're just simply putting Missouri's ban on taxpayer funds going to abortions into the new exchanges they created...there will be opposition, we know, but I think that we will get this through," Rupp said.

Insurance companies are already barred in Missouri from offering abortion coverage within basic health policies.

Michelle Trupiano is a state lobbyist for Planned Parenthood.

"Women deserve access to full coverage of reproductive health services, and women that are in very vulnerable circumstances, including rape, incest, health of the mother, are not going to be covered for services if they are needed," Trupiano said.

The bill now goes to the full Missouri Senate.

Meanwhile, the Missouri House has given first-round approval to legislation that would make it illegal to coerce a woman into having an abortion and would expand information doctors must provide 24 hours before performing an abortion.