Today, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 20, Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform, on second reading on a 19-10 vote. The bill is expected to move to a third reading and final vote on Monday.
Senate Bill 20 by Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) and House Bill 1113 by Representative John Smithee (R-Amarillo) would protect Texans from paying for the abortions of others through their tax dollars and health insurance premiums. In the 2015 Legislative Session, Senator Taylor authored a similar insurance reform, SB 575, which passed in the Senate and died in the House. This session, Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform once again seeks to protect Texans who do not want to subsidize abortions through public, private, and state insurance plans. The federal Affordable Care Act includes a provision for states to opt out of default abortion coverage, and 25 states have already done so.
SB 20 would ensure that ACA-subsidized plans, state employee plans, or private basic health insurance plans do not include coverage for elective abortions. Texans deserve the right to decide where their insurance and tax dollars go, and they should not be forced to fund the elective abortions of others. The majority of Texans are Pro-Life and neither want nor need insurance coverage for elective abortion. If any Texans do want this coverage, SB 20 would allow individuals to purchase coverage for elective abortions in separate, supplemental plans. This legislation would protect the freedom of all Texans to abide by their consciences.
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SB 20 is expected to reach final passage in the Senate on Monday. Next, the bill will go to the House Committee on State Affairs chaired by Representative Byron Cook (R-Corsicana). Last session, Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform was stalled in the same House committee, which delayed the move to the House floor until the end of the session. Pro-Life Texans are hopeful that this session legislators will prioritize this important measure and ensure that Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform becomes law.