The Tennessee Senate is expected to take up a measure to ban any abortion funding under the new federal health care overhaul.
The state House of Representatives passed the bill Monday, banning any use of state government funds to pay for an abortion.
Now the Senate companion bill has cleared the Senate Commerce Committee on a unanimous vote.
One argument against the state bill has been that President Barack Obama signed an executive order barring abortion funding under the federal health care reform.
But Gallatin Republican Diane Black, who’s sponsoring the state measure, says the executive order is just a statement, not a law.
“That’s what people think, that that is the case, that if the president writes an executive order that, that will be the same as having something in statute, and we all know that that is not so.”
The bill could go to the Senate floor as early as Monday.
The federal health care law has a specific provision that allows states to pass language barring funding for elective abortions.
Black is the chair of the Senate GOP Caucus. She has been instrumental in previous fights in the Senate on the side of the pro-life forces. She argues the state has a right to restrict the use of public money in such cases.
“To protect the taxpayer dollars here in the state of Tennessee, as we have done in the past, to not have money that is taxpayers’ dollars to be used for elective abortions. We’re making that very clear in our law, and that is what this bill does.”
The state bill is SB 2686 Black/HB 2681Hill.
The bill passed the House Monday (April 12) on a vote of 70-23.
That list of “how they voted” is here.
The measure was contentious moving through the House of Representatives and prompted personal exchanges between House sponsor Matthew Hill and House Democratic Leader Gary Odom. Our previous stories:
House Passes Abortion Coverage Ban
Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
State House Argues Over Abortion Funding In Federal Health Care Overhaul
Thursday, April 08th, 2010
Diane Black is seeking the Republican nomination for the congressional seat in Middle Tennessee’s sixth district.