After days of delaying vote on the $5.8 billion state budget with misleading arguments, Bright’s proposed amendment to eliminate current and heavily restricted coverage of abortion from state health insurance policies was defeated.
On the evening of May 5, the state senate voted 26-20 against the proposal.
Bright had blocked vote on the state budget for six days, using tactics of delay and filibuster to add weight to his deceptive statements on this secondary subject. Throughout his argument, he claimed his goal was to end use of “state tax money to pay for abortions.”
Bright wasn’t referring to Medicaid or public health clinics or state-operated medical facilities, though. His amendment was geared against state employee’s health insurance, and which already only covers abortion in extremely limited circumstances.
Jessica Bearden, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Health Systems, finds Bright’s argument intentionally misleading.
“The only times the state employee’s health plan covers abortion is in cases of rape, incest and if the mother’s life is endangered,” Bearden said.
Health insurance policies for state employees have carried such restrictions for over 30 years.
Bright described the goals of his amendment to be prevention of “tax-payer funded abortions,” though, seemingly to mislead the public. His arguments never stipulated exclusive relevance to state employee health insurance.
His deception was extended by other state senators, too. “The issue is not whether a woman can get an abortion for rape or incest. The issue is whether the government is going to use taxpayer dollars to finance that,” state Sen. Mike Rose (R-Summerville) offered in an email message.
However, “(insurance) premiums are paid directly by the employees,” Bearden said.
Planned Parenthood campaigned against Bright’s proposal on the same day, asking voters to contact their state senators and voice their opposition to Bright’s amendment.
Bright didn’t take the defeat well, and continued his misleading arguments after the vote. He was “incensed,” according to media, and “accused senators of killing children with taxpayer money.”
By Bright’s own admission, only seven such incidents of abortions covered by state health insurance plans occurred last year.
Bright developed a radical reputation after introducing bills to replace the U.S. dollar with use of gold and silver in South Carolina and to block the national healthcare act from use in the state.
“If at first you don’t secede, try again,” Bright told media last year.