The Republican National Committee (RNC) announced plans yesterday to work with their insurance provider Cigna to end the coverage of elective abortions under their health insurance. According to the Associated Press, RNC Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement, “Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose. I don’t know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled.” Incidentally, the RNC’s insurance policy has covered abortion since 1991.
Politico reported the story and subsequently published excerpts from a letter written by RNC Chief of Staff Ken McKay to the 168 RNC committeemen and committeewomen. The insurance policy reportedly came under scrutiny from both inside and outside the RNC, mainly for the hypocrisy of arguing against abortion coverage in any capacity when party insurance would cover it. In the letter McKay claims, “Chairman Steele had already called for an official review of our health insurance policy along with a number of other operational items. The review of our health insurance policy has been underway for some time and that review continues.”
The GOP platform traditionally promotes staunch anti-abortion views. All but one Republican voted yes on the extremely restrictive anti-abortion Stupak/Pitts Amendment to the Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 3962). This amendment bans abortion coverage for women in both the public option and private insurance. It bans abortion coverage even if women pay for it with their own money in the public option or through private plans in the insurance exchange.