Tuesday October 13th, 2015 5:23PM

Ga. to limit abortion coverage in employee plan

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA - Georgia will join seven other states that ban coverage of abortions in nearly all instances for those enrolled in the state employee health insurance plan.

The decision Thursday by the board of the Department of Community Health means the policy will bypass state lawmakers, who didn't take action on similar legislation earlier this year. In a statement, Gov. Nathan Deal took credit for finding a way to accomplish what he called a worthy goal.

``Today's vote by the Department of Community Health board shows our state's commitment to reducing the number of abortions in our state by ensuring that state taxpayers aren't paying for a procedure that many find morally objectionable,'' Deal said.

Under the policy, all abortion coverage would be banned in the state employee health plan except if the life of the mother is in danger. Currently, an estimated 672,000 members and dependents are enrolled in the state health plan.

The board voted 5-3, with one member abstaining. The changes are set to take effect in January 2014.

Data provided by the Department of Community Health shows 366 people under the state plan sought abortions in fiscal year 2011, a decline from 447 individuals in 2010 and 545 people in 2009. Net insurance payments for abortions declined to $213,000 in 2011 from $343,000 two years earlier.

Rep. Pat Gardner, D-Atlanta, said the board's action would be more restrictive than federal guidelines, which include abortions for rape and incest.

``I'm a big fan of this governor, and I think he's done some really good things on criminal justice and he's made some very tough decisions on things like education,'' Gardner said in an interview. ``I don't agree with him on all the issues, but he has been very deliberate and very thoughtful. And this just smacks of electioneering. And that's disappointing to me.''

Mike Griffin with Georgia Right to Life said the group was pleased.

``We've often wondered why in the world would taxpayers be interested in paying for insurance coverage that really isn't health care,'' Griffin said. ``Health care is something to preserve life, not to destroy life.''

Seven states restrict abortion coverage in insurance plans for public employees in all cases except when the mother's life is in danger, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. Two states prohibit any abortion coverage in the state plans, while nine limit coverage to some combination of life endangerment, threat to the woman's health, rape, incest or fetal abnormality.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Last defendant in cab driver murder trial sentenced to life with parole
A Gainesville woman was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole Tuesday, the last of five defendants in the murder or attempted robbery of a Gainesville cab driver.
5:15PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Hall drug agents seize over eight ounces of meth, worth over $26,000
In a case that culminated with the arrests of three people on Monday, Hall County Multi Agency Narcotics agents seized methamphetamine worth an estimated $26,840 on the street.
3:18PM ( 2 hours ago )
Flowery Branch woman arrested for depositing counterfeit checks in Gwinnett
A Flowery Branch woman faces charges in Gwinnett County for allegedly depositing counterfeit checks in Norcross and Peachtree Corners.
2:21PM ( 3 hours ago )
Deal: Tax revenues up for September
Tax collections for the state rose again in the month of September, according to information released Tuesday by Governor Nathan Deal's office.
By AccessWDUN Staff
11:04AM ( 6 hours ago )
'Extreme delays' expected most of week on downtown Gainesville street
Road work is planned again this week on a busy downtown Gainesville thoroughfare.
8:27AM ( 8 hours ago )