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Abortion Coverage Would Get Dropped Under Texas Bill

The Texas Senate passed a bill on May 5, 2015, that would eliminate abortion coverage from health insurance plans in Texas.

On Tuesday, the Texas Senate tentatively passed a bill that would prohibit abortion coverage under many health insurance plans. It could get final approval today.

The bill would only allow coverage for abortions in cases where there’s a medical emergency. State Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) says his measure gives Texans who don’t support abortion the choice not to pay for others to get the procedure.

"They’ll just have to come up with another means to pay for it, other than having all the people across Texas who buy insurance being forced to pay for something they don’t believe in," Taylor said.

State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) said, however, that a woman who gets cancer during her pregnancy would already be faced with a difficult decision about having an abortion, and "yet still having to fight with their insurance company as to whether that is aggravated by the pregnancy."  

Taylor said women could buy a supplemental insurance plan that covers elective abortion. State Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) said a 2013 law that shut down many abortion clinics in Texas has already hurt poor women.

"We’ve already shut out access to poor women, now we’re shutting out access to women who can’t afford insurance," Garcia said.

Taylor, however, described his bill as one about choice.

"I guess I would disagree on the access, but I guess we could debate a whole other deal on that," he said.

Taylor pointed out the state has put millions into funding women’s health care, though not at clinics like Planned Parenthood.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 10 states prohibit health insurance plans from offering any abortion coverage. If this bill gets final approval today, it will head to the House.