Just one day after a report from Politico.com that the employer-provided health plan extended by the Republican National Committee to its employees covers "elective abortion" procedures, the GOP committee has striken such coverage from its plan.
The Cigna health care plan had covered the procedure under the agreement with the RNC for years without being noticed. But its presence caused a PR nightmare for Chairman Michael Steele, who acted quickly to distance himself from its origins. "Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose," said Steele. "I don't know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled."
The plan went beyond coverage for emergency cases to provide service to pregnant women who choose to have the procedure.
Republicans- as well as some conservative Democrats- have worked to see that the current health care reform bill is stripped of any provision that would allow federal taxpayer dollars to be used to fund abortions. The RNC calls the procedure, "a fundamental assault on innocent human life."
Abortion rights advocates say that not providing for such procedures will essentially ensure that lower-income women and families (a demographic in which a significant portion of abortions performed occurs) have no access, thus forcing them to alternative, dangerous means, while allowing those who are able to afford health care plans to undergo the procedure.