Lawmakers are considering a bill that would increase access to abortion services in Virginia.
Abortion is the only legal medical procedure prohibited by Virginia law from being offered by private companies who sell plans in the exchange created by the Affordable Care Act. That's why Democrats are moving forward with a bill that would remove that prohibition.
Republican Senator Steve Newman of Bedford County says he's concerned about money.
“The state of Virginia and certainly the federal government, they do donate to certain individuals who are on the exchanges," he explains. "That doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily going to pay for this service. But it certainly does go into the pot.”
Federal funds cannot be used for abortion services except in very limited cases. And Delegate Sally Hudson, a Democrat from Charlottesville, says the bill will not require any insurance provider to cover abortions and it won't require any patients to purchase a plan that covers abortions.
"If a patient does opt to purchase a plan that has that coverage, a separate premium will be required to pay for that coverage," Hudson says. "And so the bill will ensure that regardless of where patients get their coverage, whether it's through their employer or if it's on the state exchange, that they'll have the option to get that coverage for abortion care."
The bill’s fiscal impact statement shows removing the prohibition will have no cost to Virginia.