Mandating that Abortion Be Covered in Health Insurance Policies that Include Maternity Coverage (Bill S.7002-Brouk/A.7573-Gonzalez-Rojas)  (Bill S.8007-B-Budget, Part R)

Bill S.7002-Brouk/A.7573-Gonzalez-Rojas and Bill S.8007-B-Budget, Part R would require New York health insurance policies that provide maternity coverage to cover abortion as well.[1] Specifically, the bills state that “every policy which provides hospital, surgical, or medical coverage and which offers maternity care coverage…shall also provide coverage for abortion services for an enrollee.” These bills would also mandate that abortion coverage not be subject to coinsurance, copayments, or deductibles, except in the case of high-deductible plans.

While the bills contain an exemption for insurance policies provided by religious employers, that exemption is woefully inadequate; it would only apply to churches, associations of churches, and religious orders. In other words, faith-based charities and family-owned businesses that offer employee health coverage would both be required to provide the requisite abortion coverage. Furthermore, even if an employer qualified for the exemption, the bills would require insurers to provide an abortion rider to that employer’s employees.

No employer or insurer should be forced by the state to fund a procedure that violates its sincerely-held religious tenets. This legislation—which could, if passed, give rise to a constitutional challenge—should be rejected, whether it is included in a budget proposal or offered as a stand-alone bill.

[1]                The State of New York already mandates that health insurance policies include abortion coverage; however, that mandate is not statutory and has been challenged in court.