Texas House lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday to prohibit health insurance plans from covering elective abortions in the state.
Texas House Bill 214 would protect people from subsidizing abortions through their tax dollars or their private health insurance payments by prohibiting abortion coverage in private health plans, state insurance plans and Obamacare plans, the American-Statesman reports.
The bill passed by a strong majority in a 95-51 vote. The state Senate approved an identical measure in July, according to the Texas Tribune.
“It’s a question of economic freedom, and freedom in general,” said state Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo, who wrote the bill. He said his legislation would protect people who oppose abortion for “religious, philosophical and moral reasons.”
The bill allows insurance coverage for the rare exceptions when an abortion is necessary to save the mother’s life. In all other cases, a woman would have to buy a separate insurance premium if she wants abortion coverage, according to the Tribune.
Pro-abortion Democrats tried to amend the bill to include cases of rape, incest and fetal anomalies; but the amendments failed.
Here’s more from the Statesman:
Republicans turned aside seven Democratic amendments that would have loosened the bill’s restrictions, with the day’s sharpest clash devoted to a proposal by Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, to exempt pregnancies from rape or incest from the abortion insurance ban.
Smithee opposed the amendment, saying there are three parties in those situations — “the father,” who is guilty, and the mother and child, who are innocent. “I ask you to consider those of us who have moral, religious, even philosophical objections,” he said. “Try to be understanding of our belief.”
“Are you suggesting I would have to force my daughter to continue a pregnancy from a rapist?” Howard asked, noting that girls as young as 10 have gotten pregnant.
Pro-life Gov. Greg Abbott called a special legislative session this summer to pass pro-life laws. Last week, the House approved another bill to help prevent abortionists from keeping botched abortions a secret.
In early July, Abbott called on state lawmakers to pass bills to protect women and unborn babies from abortion. Another piece of legislation on the governor’s agenda is a bill to prevent taxpayer funds from going to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers through city and county contracts.
Perhaps no state in the nation has been as aggressive as Texas and attempting to defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Texas lawmakers have been employing just about every tool at their disposal to ensure that Texans are not on the hook for funding the nation’s biggest abortion company. In May, Texas officials took another step forward by asking the Trump Administration to affirm a new effort to defund the abortion giant.
To support women and children, lawmakers also are directing funds to state health facilities, including pregnancy centers and maternity homes. In the spring, Texas lawmakers set aside $20 million in the budget for the state Alternatives to Abortion program.
The program provided free assistance to more than 131,000 women between 2006 and 2015. It offers free maternity and baby clothing, food and furniture, temporary shelter, referrals to community agencies and medical resources, as well as pregnancy and parenting classes, job skill training, mentoring, adoption information and more.