HARRISBURG – The state House gave bipartisan support to a bill that would block insurance plans offered through the state’s new health insurance exchanges from covering abortions.

Abortions would still be allowed in the event of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother was at risk, in line with other state laws governing abortion through state or federally subsidized insurance programs. The exchanges are set to begin operating in 2014 as part of the federal health care reform law.

The bill was pitched by Republicans as a necessary step to prevent state and federal tax dollars from being used for abortion, bringing plans offered through the state exchange in line with existing state and federal law.  But Democrats called it an expansion of governmental regulation over health care choices of Pennsylvanians who will be using the health exchanges.