Daily Dispatches
Jonathan Foley, director of Planning and Policy Analysis for the US Office of Personnel Management.
Associated Press/Photo by Carolyn Kaster
Jonathan Foley, director of Planning and Policy Analysis for the US Office of Personnel Management.

Vital Signs: Government approves tax-funded abortions


Abortion added to federal healthcare plan. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) ruled last week that abortion coverage would be part of the amended Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB). The ruling allows members of Congress and their staffs to buy healthcare plans that pay for abortions, despite federal law banning abortion funding, The Washington Times reports. Conservatives say the Obama administration is using the healthcare overhaul to create a loophole for using taxpayer money to fund abortion. OPM officials say the healthcare plans that support abortion are private and therefore don’t fall under the abortion-funding ban. The new ruling follows previous rulings from the Obama administration naming sterilization and birth control—particularly abortive emergency contraception—as essential coverage for all healthcare plans. 

Arizona appeals abortion law to high court. After the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided in May to throw out Arizona’s ban on non-emergency abortions after 20 weeks, Attorney General Tom Horne and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) haven’t given up the fight. They are now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the decision. 

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer originally approved the law, but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit before it could go into effect. Arizona’s U.S. District Court upheld the law, but the ACLU appealed the decision to the 9th Circuit, whose judges deemed it in conflicted with Roe v. Wade

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In a joint statement, Horne and ADF attorneys said they need to fight to protect babies who can feel pain in the womb at 20 weeks: “Arizona’s law is entirely reasonable and constitutional, and we hope the Supreme Court takes this invitation to revisit the extreme constraints Roe v. Wade imposed on state safeguards for women’s health.”

California city considers pro-life resolution. The Bakersfield City Council in central California saw a large turnout when a key committee considered a pro-life resolution Sept. 23. 

The resolution presented to the council's Legislative and Litigation Committee praises groups that want to inform the public about abortion alternatives, such as adoption, and says the city “maintains that there are many positive and feasible alternatives to abortion,” The Bakersfield Californian reported.

The resolution was drafted as a compromise after City Attorney Ginny Gennaro said an ordinance under consideration earlier this year could open the city to abortion-restricting litigation. 

If the committee approves the resolution, it still needs a majority vote from the City Council. Since resolutions don't carry the weight of law, it would not be enforced, but would encourage groups to raise awareness in hopes of passing an ordinance in the future.

Alabama judges says abortion center “must stay closed.” Circuit Judge Joseph L. Boohaker of Jefferson County, Ala., denied abortionist Bruce Norman’s request last week to continue performing abortions in his Birmingham facility. New Women All Women has been operating illegally, in defiance of Alabama’s Department of Public Health’s order for it to close. State officials reprimanded the facility for sending two women to the hospital in one day, according to LifeNews. The state is currently suing New Women All Women for continuing its business after the state revoked its license in May 2012.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Alissa Robertson
Alissa Robertson


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