Lousiana Abortion Ban Sidetracked for Cost Concerns

Finally, a legislature is considering the costs of losing federal funding before passing an unconstitutional bill.

In a rare moment of forethought, the Louisiana legislature has decided to bypass a full abortion ban for the state, citing potential costs to the state in lost Medicaid funding.

The Advocate2 reports:

An anti-abortion bill suffered a likely fatal blow Wednesday when it was sent to a Louisiana House committee amid con-cerns the measure could cost the state $4.5 billion in federal health care funds.

The measure, House Bill 645, was aimed at banning all abortions in Louisiana and was set for debate in the full House.

But the House voted 65-30 to instead send the measure to the House Appropriations Committee because of concerns the bill would run afoul of federal law.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, said written financial estimates by legislative officials – called a fiscal note – state the legislation could cost the state $4.5 billion in federal Medicaid dollars.

Medicaid is the government health insurance program for the poor that is largely federally funded.

While the bill aimed to ban all abortions, a federal law called the Hyde Amendment requires states to use Medicaid funds for abortions to save the life of the mother or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

HB645 does not include an exemption for pregnancies that result from rape or incest.

“For that reason I am asking you to commit this to the Committee on Appropriations,” Fannin said.  “It could jeopardize funding,” he said.

If only states like Indiana cared about things like that…