'Rape Insurance' Bill Becomes Law in Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed a bill that will require Texas women to pay an extra health insurance premium for non-emergency abortions, one of three abortion-related items the governor placed on lawmakers' agendas for the special session.

By Shannon Najmadadi

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed a bill that will require Texas women to pay an extra health insurance premium for non-emergency abortions, one of three abortion-related items the governor placed on lawmakers' agendas for the special session. 

The measure, House Bill 214, does not include exceptions for instances of fetal abnormalities, rape or incest. 

"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 news release. “I am grateful to the Texas Legislature for getting this bill to my desk, and working to protect innocent life this special session.”

While debating the new law, some Republicans had argued opponents of abortion shouldn't have to subsidize it through their insurance plans. Detractors countered that women can't anticipate needing the procedure, and dubbed the separate insurance now needed to cover non-emergency abortions "rape insurance." They also said the measure would hurt low-income women the most. 

“Women don’t plan to be raped. Parents don’t plan for their children to be victims of incest,” state Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, said during consideration of the law. “Asking a woman or a parent to foresee something like that and buy supplemental insurance to cover that horrific possibility is not only ridiculous, it is cruel.” 

State Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo, the bill's lead author, said, "This isn’t about who can get an abortion. It is about who is forced to pay for an abortion." He added it was necessary to prevent those with moral, religious and philosophical objections from having to pay for the procedure.

Abbott also signed a bill Tuesday that will require physicians and health care facilities to report more details about abortion complications, another of the governor's special session priorities. 

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
Sponsored
GHD identified four themes critical for municipalities to address to reach net-zero by 2050. Will you be ready?
Sponsored
As more state and local jurisdictions have placed a priority on creating sustainable and resilient communities, many have set strong targets to reduce the energy use and greenhouse gases (GHGs) associated with commercial and residential buildings.
Sponsored
As more people get vaccinated and states begin to roll back some of the restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic — schools, agencies and workplaces are working on a plan on how to safely return to normal.
Sponsored
The solutions will be a permanent part of government even after the pandemic is over.
Sponsored
See simple ways agencies can improve the citizen engagement experience and make online work environments safer without busting the budget.
Sponsored
Whether your agency is already a well-oiled DevOps machine, or whether you’re just in the beginning stages of adopting a new software development methodology, one thing is certain: The security of your product is a top-of-mind concern.
Sponsored
The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2022, over half of the workforce will require significant reskilling or upskilling to do their jobs—and this data was published prior to the pandemic.
Sponsored
Part math problem and part unrealized social impact, recycling is at a tipping point. While there are critical system improvements to be made, in the end, success depends on millions of small decisions and actions by people.
Sponsored
Government legal professionals are finding Lexis+ Litigation Analytics from LexisNexis valuable for understanding a judge’s behavior and courtroom trends, knowing other attorneys’ track records, and ensuring success in civil litigation cases.