House Passes Bill to Require Additional Insurance Coverage for Abortions

AUSTIN, TX - Women in Texas may have to purchase additional insurance coverage after the Texas House passed House Bill 214 in a 92-46 vote. 

The bill keeps insurance plans from covering elective abortions, or abortions not deemed a medical emergency. 

Representative John Smithee, R-Amarillo, authored the bill and explained the issue is a matter of personal freedoms.

"I know a lot of people, myself included, have either moral or ethical or philosophical objections to most abortions  that are being performed," Smithee said. "And this bill does nothing to make those illegal or obstruct accessibility it just says that people wo object to those procedures will not be forced to pay for those procedures on other people when they find that morally objectionable."

If a woman wants the procedure covered by insurance she would have to buy a supplemental plan.

Opponents of the bill said there is no way to foresee the need for this type of coverage. Many House Democrats tried to amend the bill to include exceptions for rape, incest or fetal abnormalities. Those amendments were all voted down. 

The item was part of Governor Greg Abbott's agenda for the legislative special session. 

The Texas House has now passed two of three abortion related bills during this special session. A third bill, that keeps state governments from contracting with abortion providers, has not been scheduled for a floor debate. 

"These abortions measures, none of them are really new ideas," Smithee said. "Ideas that haven't been talked about in the past. They've been filed numerous times over the years and have worked their way through various stages of the process, but never finally passed and I think it was Governor Abbott's view on this, that if you can focus attention on these measures in the context of a special session- you would have a better chance to get some of these passed and get them out of the way where we can move on to other things." 

House Bill 214 will be sent to the Senate, where a familiar bill has already passed. Smithee said he expects the bill to pass the Senate and head to the Governor's desk, where it will be signed. 






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