KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

D.C. Abortion Bill To Get Hearing; Mo. Considers Allowing Employers To Opt-Out Of Contraception Coverage Mandate

The House is considering a bill that would ban abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Elsewhere, Missouri lawmakers consider allowing businesses to opt-out of a federal mandate to cover contraception in their health plans, and another Catholic university -- this one in Florida -- considers dumping its health plan instead of complying with the mandate.

Politico: Norton Refused Testimony In Anti-Abortion Hearing
House Republicans pushing a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks in the District of Columbia aren't allowing Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton to testify at a hearing Thursday. The bill's lead sponsor, Arizona Republican Trent Franks, chairs the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. Norton, a Democrat, wrote a letter to Franks last week asking to testify. But Republicans aren't repeating the mistake they made earlier this year, when a male-heavy panel during a hearing on contraception prompted Norton and other Democrats to walk out in protest. Christy Zink, a George Washington University professor who was forced to have an abortion late in her pregnancy due to complications, will testify (Robillard, 5/17).

The Hill: NARAL Vows To Blitz GOP Over DC Abortion Bill
The head of a leading abortion-rights groups promised to "flood" the offices of some House members with messages of opposition to a bill that would criminalize abortions after 20 weeks in the District of Columbia. The message came ahead of a hearing on the bill, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), that is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. "The politicians behind this bill, who claim to support smaller government, are obsessed with attacking choice and willing to override locally elected officials to undermine the doctor-patient relationship," NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan said in a statement (Viebeck, 5/16).

St. Louis Beacon:  Missouri Legislators Close To Approving Bill To Curb Coverage On Contraception, Sterilization
The Missouri General Assembly appears to be on its way to approving a measure to allow businesses to decline to provide coverage for "abortion, contraception or sterilization." The bill would allow any medical professional to decline to be involved in such procedures. Pharmacies also could decline to stock any drug or device (Mannies, 5/16).

Fox News: Florida Catholic School Considers Dropping Student Health Plan, On Heels Of Ohio Decision
On the heels of an Ohio school's decision to abandon its student health insurance plan, another Catholic university in Florida is considering whether to follow suit over concerns about premium costs associated with the federal health care overhaul, has learned.  The school, the private Ave Maria University, is voicing both moral and economic concerns. ... Ave Maria officials are opposed to the so-called contraceptive coverage mandate (Berger, 5/17).

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