Funding for abortions through the health care exchange created under Obamacare would be limited to pregnancies caused by rape or incest and those that threaten the life of the mother under legislation, HB 818, which has been approved by the state House of Representatives.

The sponsor of the bill, state Representative Matt Baker, R-Bradford, said a provision in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act gives states the authority to limit the abortion funding.

“The president needed votes to get the health care act through Congress, so he signed an executive order giving states the right to opt out of the funding,” Baker said. “If the Senate approves this, we will be the 21st state to do so.”

Opponents of the bill claim it will limit the availability of abortion services to those who are paying out of their own pockets to purchase their health insurance.

But Baker said the bill is consistent with other state and federal laws that limit public funding for abortions.

He added that under HB 818, coverage would be offered for any post-abortion complication, any miscarriage or any complication associated with a miscarriage. In addition, the bill would not prohibit individuals from purchasing abortion coverage for a separate premium they pay for outside the health insurance exchange.

Taxpayer-funded abortions have long been limited in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program, except in cases of rape or incest or to avert the death of the mother.

HB 818 passed the House by a vote of 144-53. It now goes to the state Senate for consideration.