Georgia health officials have decided to ban coverage of abortions in nearly all instances for those enrolled in the state employee health insurance plan.
Thursday's decision by the board of the Department of Community Health means the policy will bypass state lawmakers who didn't take action on similar legislation earlier this year.
The decision also allows Gov. Nathan Deal to keep his promise to find a way to limit state funds used for abortions.
Under the policy, all abortion coverage would be banned in the state employee health plan except if the life of the mother is in danger. Currently, an estimated 672,000 members and dependents are enrolled in the state health plan.
The changes are set to take effect in January 2014.