TALLAHASSEE — Republican-led committees dealt Democrats and Planned Parenthood advocates two blows Wednesday.
The first came when a House subcommittee advanced a bill that would prevent certain insurers participating in the federal health insurance exchange from providing coverage for abortions. Without this action, insurance plans bought with any federal or state subsidies could offer abortion coverage but must allow for a separate payment.
The Legislature approved similar language last year, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Charlie Crist.
"I am admittedly prolife," said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, the bill's sponsor. "But I would think that even for those who are prochoice, this would not be the most appropriate use of public funds."
His bill passed along party lines, 10-5. Health insurance coverage for an abortion would be possible in cases of rape, incest or to save the mother's life.
Hours later, members of the Senate Transportation Committee passed a bill that would allow fees collected from sales of Choose Life license plates to go straight to Choose Life Inc., and not counties that are part of the program. Choose Life would allocate the money to nongovernmental not-for-profits that help pregnant women planning for adoption.
The money currently goes to the counties, but nearly a half-million dollars went unspent in 2009-10 due to lack of participation in some rural areas. The law already prohibits plate money to be distributed to agencies "associated with abortion activities."