Texas women have to pay extra insurance premiums if they forsee being victimized and needing an abortion
Women in Texas will now have to buy additional insurance policies for coverage if they think they might need an abortion some time in the next year. If that sounds absurd to you, it’s because it is. Who the hell plans to have an abortion? No one.
The cruel bill that just passed into law this week prohibits all insurance companies from covering abortion care in their standard plans, thereby forcing women to predict their abortion needs and pay extra for a supplemental plan. There are no exceptions for rape, incest, or severe fetal abnormalities.
The ban signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, applies to insurance plans on the exchanges by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and also any plans sponsored by employers or purchased on the private market. A plan would only be allowed to cover an abortion if the pregnant woman had a life-threatening health emergency.
The additional insurance a woman would need to purchase should she have a crystal ball and predict that she needs an abortion has been dubbed “rape insurance,” because it’s essentially forcing women to forsee being sexually assaulted and victimized, or their kids. It’s forcing them to pay extra for a horrific experience, just as a precaution. Can you imagine being faced with deciding whether or not to plan for your daughter being raped because it may be cheaper in the long run by doing so?
“Women and parents will be faced with the horrific decision of having to purchase ‘rape insurance’ to cover them if they are victimized,” Democratic Representative Chris Turner said in a statement reported by Reuters last week. “This is not only ridiculous, but it is cruel.”
It was an intensely debated bill and one that will severely impact the women who need abortions, especially women with lower income.
“It will impact people who have coverage and will now be denied services,” Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas says, according to U.S. News & World Report. “So regardless of how big that number is, people who have health coverage should be able to get the services they need.”
The bill came about because right-wing legislators and advocates in the state said they were forced against their will to help fund abortions because they happened to be taking part in a health insurance system that covers them.
“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. “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.”
Texas is one of 25 states that limit coverage of abortion under the ACA, aka Obamacare, but at least 13 have exceptions for rape and incest victims, according to the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute. It’s horrific enough that legislators want to literally strip away the rights women won through Roe v. Wade. But it is downright sickening when reckless and thoughtless politicians don’t even think or consider exceptions for rape or incest victims. It’s reprehensible. Which is why activists have already filed lawsuits in Texas and are currently trying to figure out their next move.
“I’m not sure what the strategy might be moving forward,” Busby says. “We already have two pending lawsuits now in Texas, so it’s just more of our tax dollars defending laws that deny people health care.”
The fact is this: women don’t plan to have abortions. They don’t make their five year plans and say to themselves OK this year I’m going to have an abortion, and the year after that I’ll have two. No, just NO. Needing one and getting one is an extremely personal and emotional choice, one that Republicans apparently think is made lightly. Apart from that, women should not be forced to quantify their reasons for needing one. MY BODY, MY CHOICE means something. It’s a right women fought long and hard for, and the more we allow lawmakers to add stipulations and exceptions to that right, the closer we get to losing control over our reproductive freedom.