Texas governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 214 on Aug. 15, which serves to restrict health insurance plans from covering elective abortions.
According to a bill analysis by the House Research Organization, a qualified health plan offered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be prohibited from providing coverage for an elective abortion.
While the law makes an exception for medical emergency abortions, it makes no exception for cases of rape, incest or fetal abnormalities—which has led many opponents to call it the “Rape Insurance Bill.”
Trenton D. Garza, who graduated Baylor in 2014 with a degree in political science and currently works as a legal assistant in a law firm, said that House Bill 214 creates a gap in insurance coverage and that women will now need supplemental insurance to help cover abortion-related costs.
Under House Bill 214, women will have to choose whether or not purchase additional or supplemental coverage for a possible elective abortion in the future.
“Unfortunately, a lot of the women affected are in circumstances that are already extremely stressful and complicated,” Garza said.
In a bill analysis, the House Research Organization reported that opponents of the bill say House Bill 214 will disproportionately affect low-income women that are unable to purchase the supplemental coverage along with their basic health insurance plan. However, supporters of the bill say that it will ensure that Texas citizens are not paying for health insurance coverage that they do not want.
According to a press release from the Office of the Texas Governor, under House Bill 214, Texans will not be forced to pay for elective abortions through their insurance plans.
Petaluma, Calif., senior Brittany Gamlen, who worked with the Texas legislature full-time last semester through the Bullock Scholar’s program, said that the bill gives Texas citizens more of a personal choice so that only those who would consider an abortion are paying for it.
“It’s not a service that I ever plan to use and I don’t like knowing that’s where my money could be going but if it is something you agree with then you still have that option,” Gamlen said.
House Bill 214 is scheduled to take effect Dec. 1 of this year, and according to a press release from the Office of the Texas Governor, the new law is an important piece of Abbott’s pro-life agenda.