Missouri fifth state to opt out of abortion coverage in state insurance exchange

Missouri on Wednesday will become the fifth state to ban health plans from offering abortion coverage on its health insurance exchange. Gov. Jay Nixon (D) will allow the restriction to become law without his signature, according to Americans United for Life.

The healthcare reform law allows states to exclude elective abortion coverage from being offered on the state health insurance exchanges due to begin operating in 2014. The legislation has exemptions for rare cases where the mother's life is in danger from "a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury" including "a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself."

Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee have already passed opt-out legislation.

The Missouri law also requires that women be advised of the risks of abortion, be given information about the physiological characteristics of their unborn child and be presented with what resources are available to women who choose to bring their child to term.

Women must be given the opportunity to view an ultrasound, learn about the pain an unborn child might feel during a later term abortion and have access to a telephone if they are at the abortion facility under duress from a third party.