Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law HB 214, which prohibits insurance companies from using Texas taxpayer dollars for abortions. The law applies specifically to elective abortions and makes an exemption for a medical emergency where the mother's life is in danger.
According to the Texas Tribune, the final version of the bill was passed by the state Senate on Sunday and sent to the governor's desk.
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) August 15, 2017
"As a firm believer in Texas values, I am proud to sign legislation that ensures no Texan is ever required to pay for a procedure that ends the life of an unborn child,” Abbott said in a statement from his official website. “This bill prohibits insurance providers from forcing Texas policyholders to subsidize elective abortions. I am grateful to the Texas Legislature for getting this bill to my desk, and working to protect innocent life this special session.”
The new law not only prohibits the use of state taxpayer dollars from being used on abortions, it requires a private plan be bought separate from the original plan in order to have elective abortions covered.
Republican Rep. John Smitthee, the bill's author, said during the legislative debate that the bill is not banning abortions within the state of Texas, according to the Chicago Tribune. Smithee said that this bill was more about not forcing Texas to fund procedures they disagree with.
“What we’re saying here is: If you want to buy this coverage, you can buy it,” Smithee said during the House debate. “This isn’t about who can get an abortion. It is about who is forced to pay for an abortion.”
Outnumbered Texas Democrats disagreed with the bill. Democratic state Sen. Sylvia Garcia attempted to introduce an amendment to the bill to include taxpayer funding for abortions in the case of fetal abnormalities, rape, and incest. But the amendment was defeated.
Garcia said the bill would require women to purchase "rape insurance."
"No woman plans to have an abortion and certainly no one can plan to be raped, no woman can plan to be sexually assaulted by someone she knows in her own family," Garcia said during the debate.
However, according to LifeSite, Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director in Texas, and now director of And Then There Were None, said that a lot of the rhetoric used by abortion advocates is sensationalistic:
Just because abortion is legal does not mean that people who have significant moral concerns with the taking of innocent life — as they believe abortion does — need to pay for it through their health insurance. Abortion advocates automatically go to the far reaches of hysteria and assume the worst with this kind of legislation: that women won't be able to get abortions when they want them. Women have access to abortion but those of us who believe it is the intentional ending of a human life shouldn't have to pay for it.
(H/T: Daily Wire)