Texas Senate Revives Proposal to Ban Abortion Coverage Through Insurance Plans

AUSTIN — Sen. Larry Taylor revived his proposal to require women to purchase separate insurance plans for abortion coverage, attaching the provision Monday night to a bill concerning data that insurance providers collect about physicians. The measure would prohibit abortion coverage under primary care plans through private insurers and the Affordable Care Act. Implementing such a restriction has been a priority for GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. The Senate initially approved the bill late Monday night with a 20-11 vote. A final vote is expected Tuesday, at which point the bill will head to the House for consideration.Advocates of restricting insurance coverage argue that Texans who oppose abortion should not be forced to spend their money on their insurance premiums that cover abortion. John Seago, legislative director for Texas Right to Life, said the provision is especially important because it includes insurance plans for state employees. "It comes down to the issue that we, the state of Texas, have decided we're not going to use taxpayer dollars to subsidize someone else's abortions," Seago said. "This is not just about insurance premiums, but also taxpayer dollars."Taylor, R-Friendswood, authored a bill, which passed through the Senate in March, that would create a similar ban, but it has yet to be scheduled for a vote in the House.Seago said he was hoping the House would debate the issue this session, calling it one of the "milder pro-life bills.""We're not in the business of predicting how the House leadership thinks," he said. "If I was going to bet at the beginning of the session, I would have expected that this was one of the few bills the moderate House leadership would have wanted on the floor." Critics of the proposal say it will disproportionately affect low-income women. Yvonne Gutierrez, executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, said most women who use insurance for an abortion procedure do so when there is a complication with their pregnancy. "No one plans their abortion, especially families who are trying to have a family," Gutierrez said. "This is why you have insurance. This is in case a medical complication were to present itself, this is how you're prepared. This is a medical situation that occurs with pregnancies."   Continue reading...

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