Legislation went into effect today barring coverage of abortion in health plans offered through the state-run health insurance exchange to be created under the health reform bill.
Two weeks after the General Assembly easily passed the legislation, today Gov. Phil Bredesen declined to either sign or veto the bill. So the measure - SB 2686 - still goes into law, according to a news release from Tennessee Right to Life, a nonprofit, pro-life organization.
The move makes Tennessee the second state, after Arizona, to enact legislation prohibiting abortion coverage in the state-run health exchanges. Legislation is pending in eight other states.
Legislative Democratic leaders have questioned whether the law was needed since the federal law already includes anti-abortion language.
They also have raised concerns whether it would deny health insurance coverage to women seeking abortions in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's health was threatened.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.