On an 18-11 margin the Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to legislation barring Arizonans who purchase health insurance through the Affordable Care Act from getting coverage for elective abortions, even if they pay a separate premium out of their own pocket.
Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, said the $1-a-month premium is an accounting “gimmick” that hides what he claimed is really a subsidy of taxpayer dollars. But Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford, D-Tucson, said federal law already prohibits public funds for elective abortions, arguing there is no evidence that public dollars are being used for the procedure.
The legislation has exceptions for coverage designed to save a woman’s life or in cases of rape and incest.
SB1318 also includes a provision which requires doctors to tell women that a medication abortion started with administration of RU-486 can be reversed with high doses of the hormone progesterone.
“This is junk science, this is quack medicine,” said Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix. And she said even if the abortion can be halted, the hormone can lead to birth defects.
“I think a cleft palate is preferable to killing a little baby,” responded Sen. Kelly Ward, R-Lake Havasu City.
The measure now goes to Gov. Doug Ducey. During the campaign, Ducey said he is opposed to abortion but has said nothing about this particular legislation.