VIRGINIA

Virginia abortion debate: Amendment bars abortion in federal exchange

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Bob McDonnell wants to prohibit abortion coverage through insurance plans purchased through the federally run health care exchange that will serve Virginia.

The Republican governor added the amendment to health reform legislation that passed the General Assembly earlier this year, outraging abortion rights advocates.

Unless opponents can muster at least 51 votes in the 100-member, Republican-ruled House of Delegates and 21 votes in the state Senate, the sweeping abortion restriction will become law.

Under the amendment, not only will insurers who are part of the federal exchange be unable to offer plans that cover abortion, they can't write separate, optional riders covering it.

The only coverage exceptions would be for rape, incest or protect the life of a pregnant woman.

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