Texas House Passes What One Democrat Calls a "Rape Insurance" Bill

Texas House Passes What One Democrat Calls a "Rape Insurance" Bill
Abbott Photo by World Travel & Tourism Council/Flickr, Straus Photo by David Martin Davies/Flickr, , Patrick Photo by David Martin Davies/Flickr
It doesn't matter if a woman in Texas may seek an abortion because she got raped. Under the House bill passed Tuesday, her insurance probably isn't going to cover it anymore — unless she pays a separate premium.

Insurance plans under House Bill 214, which passed tentatively 95 to 51, would cover only "emergency" abortions, which excludes pregnancies resulting from rape or incest or if the fetus has a severe abnormality.

House Republicans expressly voted against making those exceptions.

That's why some Democrats are calling it the "rape insurance" bill. Even women, who with their husbands or boyfriends are careful to use contraception, and do not ever anticipate an unwanted pregnancy or an abortion, can't anticipate getting raped. Now, however, they'll apparently need insurance for that.

“Women don’t plan to be raped. Parents don’t plan for their children to be victims of incest,” said Representative Chris Turner, (D- Fort Worth), according to the Texas Tribune. “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.”

The bill, authored by Representative John Smithee (R-Amarillo), is intended to prevent the possibility of people with moral and religious objections to abortions from having to indirectly pay for them, which other Democrats countered is not a problem anyway since many insurance plans already don't cover the procedure.

The Senate already passed an identical bill on this issue in July — making it a pretty good chance that either the Senate or the House version will become law. It's on Governor Greg Abbott's list of 20 priorities for this year's special session, which has eight days remaining. None of those priority items have fully passed.
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Meagan Flynn is a staff writer at the Houston Press who, despite covering criminal justice and other political squabbles in Harris County, drinks only one small cup of coffee per day.
Contact: Meagan Flynn