AUSTIN (AP) — The Texas House has given preliminary approval to a a bill requiring women to purchase separate insurance policies for coverage of abortions, except during medical emergencies.
Amarillo Republican Rep. John Smithee’s proposal passed 95-51 after hours of tense debate Tuesday. A final House vote Wednesday sends it to the Texas Senate, which already approved similar rules.
Smithee said his bill only requires purchasing supplemental coverage for “elective” abortions, and promotes “economic freedom” by ensuring that Texans who object to abortions don’t have to subsidize them for other insurance policyholders.
Democratic opponents decried the bill as forcing women to buy “rape insurance” because exceptions weren’t made for rape and incest. They also argued that insurance companies already only cover medically necessary abortions.
Currently, 10 other states restrict all private insurance coverage of abortions.