AB 128 Testimony

By Matt Sande, Legislative Director | April 24, 2017

Good afternoon Chairman Sanfelippo and Committee members. My name is Matt Sande, and I serve as director of legislation for Pro-Life Wisconsin. Thank you for this opportunity to express our support for Assembly Bill (AB) 128, legislation that would prohibit elective abortion coverage in Wisconsin’s public health insurance plans.

Current Wisconsin law already prohibits abortion coverage in Wisconsin’s health insurance exchange. The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) allows health insurance plans offering abortion coverage to participate in a state's insurance “exchange” and to receive federal subsidies unless the state legislature proactively opts-out of offering such plans. Several states have enacted laws opting-out of abortion coverage in their exchanges, including Wisconsin, Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana, and Nebraska to name a few.

As a matter of equity, public health insurance plans and private exchange plans should both exclude abortion coverage. As a matter of conscience, government should not force taxpayers to fund the killing of preborn children. Abortion - the direct, intentional killing of a preborn child - is not health care. And in poll after poll, Americans overwhelmingly say they oppose taxpayer-funded abortion. Politico and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted a poll in September 2016 showing that a majority of likely voters, 58 percent, opposed the use of Medicaid funds to pay for abortion. Similarly, a July 2016 Marist poll found that 62 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.

Assembly Bill 128 mirrors the exceptions for rape, incest, and the life-of-the mother found in Wisconsin’s abortion funding prohibition (Wis. Stat. 20.927), as does the current law ban on abortion coverage in our state health insurance exchange. Pro-Life Wisconsin opposes these exceptions, but when it comes to public funding of abortion, any proactive step to stanch the flow of tax dollars for abortion coverage is welcomed. Accordingly, we strongly urge you to recommend AB 128 to the full Assembly for prompt debate and passage.

Thank you for your consideration.

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