Hill said the health plan covers about 600,000 state employees and their dependents, from teachers to state Department of Transportation engineers.
While the number of abortions performed under the state health plan has been decreasing for the past three years, Hill believes the number is still too high.
“A large number of women a year choose to have abortions paid for by the state health benefit plan,” he said. “Making someone pay for another’s abortion, whether one or many, should be prohibited.”
Under Senate Bill 98, Hill said women would still be free to have abortions, but the state just would not pay for them.
Hill said his belief that life begins at conception was strengthened 24 years ago when his wife gave birth to twins just five and a half months into her pregnancy.
“They lived for about a day, held them, squeezed my finger, and I understand what a 1.4, 1.6 pound baby child of yours is like,” he said. “That if nothing else solidified my views that these are young lives. These fetuses are real lives.”
Hill said the bill is now in the Senate Insurance Committee and has the support of the Senate leadership.
State Rep. Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna) said she opposes the bill.
“In short, the bill tries to control women, and the state should not be in that business,” Evans said.
The decisions over whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy or raise a child are better left to a woman, her family and her God, Evans said.
“Sen. Hill’s bill does not provide exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or fetal anomalies,” she said. “It is dangerous for the state to limit a woman’s health care options in these circumstances.”
Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University, said he’s unsure of the bill’s chances of passing the Georgia Senate, let alone the House.
“Georgia is more conservative than most of the country is, so there’s probably a stronger appetite for it here than there would be in other Republican states,” Swint said. “But the Republican Party is in this sort of soul-searching mode right now where they’re trying to appeal to a broader base of people. They’re trying to figure out how to appeal to more women. A lot of Republicans will probably say, ‘this is not what we need right now.’”
The Journal asked Gov. Nathan Deal’s spokesman, Brian Robinson, what the chances are of Deal supporting Hill’s proposal.
“We don’t comment on pending legislation,” Robinson said.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s spokesman, Scott Paradise, said, “The Georgia State Senate has consistently stood in defense of life, including passage of a historic pro-life bill last year. This bill will be given appropriate and thoughtful consideration as we move forward in this legislative session.”