Health insurance companies could offer coverage of abortions in South Carolina only if people pay a separate premium under a proposal that critics say would effectively end all insurance for the procedures.
The provision is part of a bill to be considered by lawmakers Thursday that would permit South Carolina to opt out of abortion coverage in state-based insurance exchanges that are to be created under the federal health care law. According to both sides of the abortion debate, five states have already opted out: Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.
If the separate premium becomes law insurers likely won't offer coverage - and even if they did, women would be unlikely to ask for it, said Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Jessica Bearden.
"Women don't plan to have unplanned pregnancies or to have severe complications late in their pregnancies," she said.
Nationwide, 80 percent of private health care plans cover abortion, she said. Coverage across South Carolina was unclear.