Additional charge for abortion coverage will likely become law in Texas

An examination room is seen at a women's reproductive health center in a city in South Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
An examination room is seen at a women's reproductive health center in a city in South Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas may soon charge women extra if they want a health plan to cover abortion. A bill is moving forward that would keep anti-abortion Texans from paying for the procedure in their health insurance plans.

The Texas Senate Committee on Business and Commerce approved House Bill 214 by Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo, six to two. It is expected to be approved by the full Senate in the coming days and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott before the end of the special legislative session.

It has some Texans worried.

Scott Ross and his wife have three children but their first pregnancy in 2010 ended in a nightmare. Issues known as Triploidy, which creates multiple chromosomes, struck before birth and led a doctor to recommend ending the pregnancy. That led to more complications and a $67,000 bill, covered by insurance.

“You wouldn’t think of this until you go through it. It’s the reason why insurance exists,” said Ross.

He came to testify at the Senate Business and Commerce Committee to tell senators some people won’t buy the extra insurance and then come to need it.

“You wouldn’t buy some, you’d kind of gamble on each of these things. So it sets up a system like, where someone is going to really pay,” said Ross.

The additional coverage will be $12 to $60 a year. If you get health insurance through your employer, they’d decide whether to cover it or not.

“It’s not really an extra charge of being a woman, it’s an elective procedure. Many people pay for other elective procedures. This is the only elective procedure that results in the death of a child,” said Director of Texas Right to Life, Elizabeth Graham. She says many Texans don’t like paying for abortions through their own health care premiums or tax dollars.

“In no way restricts access to abortion. The bill in no way limits abortion. The bill simply requires that people wanting that… choice, have to pay for it themselves,” said Graham.

The Texas House has already passed this bill and the Texas Senate has voted on a similar bill several times before. So it is very likely the legislation will go to the governor before the special session ends to be signed into law.

Texas is not the first state to consider banning insurance plans from covering abortions.

Ten other states already have this law. They include Idaho, Utah, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan. People in several other states, mostly in the southeast, cannot get plans that cover abortions if they receive coverage through Medicaid or if they work for the federal or state government.

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