The Texas State Senate has voted in favor a bill that would ban insurance coverage for abortion. The ban applies to private health insurance plans, including qualified plans offered through health benefit exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).
The legislation, Senate Bill 575, authored by Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), passed by a vote of 21-10. The only Democrat to vote for the bill was Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville).
Co-authors of the bill include Republican Senators Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), Konni Burton (R-Colleyville), Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), Bob Hall (R-Edgewood), Donald Huffines (R-Dallas), Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), and Van Taylor (R-Plano).
The bill includes an exception allowing insurance coverage in cases of medical emergency, defined as a “life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that, as certified by a physician, places the woman in danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed.”
If the bill is passed, owners of affected insurance plans would have to purchase a supplemental plan in order to obtain abortion coverage.
During the debates on the Senate floor, Sen. Taylor said women “just have to come up with another way to pay for [abortion], other than having people across Texas who buy insurance be forced to pay for something they don’t believe in.”
Sen. Taylor told Breitbart Texas:
This is a bill about choice. The choice to pay for elective abortion coverage for one’s self, and a choice not to pay for the elective abortion of others. The Affordable Care Act allows states to choose if they want to offer elective abortions as a benefit in health insurance plans on the exchange marketplace.
With this legislation, Texas would be the 26th state to opt out of providing coverage for elective abortions in federal health plans. This bill maintains current law with an exception due to medical emergency.
SB 575 requires insurance carriers that offer abortion coverage to only offer that coverage through a supplemental benefit package for those Texans who choose to have insurance to cover elective abortions.
The bill is now in the Texas House Committee.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2