On Tuesday, February 27, the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce heard the Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform bill, Senate Bill 20, one of Texas Right to Life’s priorities for this 85th Session of the Texas Legislature. The chair of the committee, Pro-Life State Senator Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), called on the sponsor, State Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood)—a legislator who consistently achieves high Pro-Life rankings —to explain the three parts of the bill to the committee. Senator Taylor explained that the purpose of SB 20 is to protect insurance consumers from unknowingly subsidizing the abortions of others through their premiums and benefits.
Texas Right to Life Legislative Director, John Seago, was the first witness called and he expertly discussed the technicalities of the bill. Elizabeth Graham, Director of Texas Right to Life, followed John, informing the committee members about certain nonprofit agencies, particularly one set up by Warren Buffet, which were established solely to fund abortions for women who cannot pay for their own. Graham made the case that automatic insurance coverage for abortion is not necessary because payment plans for elective abortion and abortion “scholarships” are available at most abortion clinics in Texas. That way, those who support abortion can subsidize the practice through these misguided nonprofit organizations while the conscious rights of insurance consumers are protected through the passage of Senate Bill 20.
One witness shared the story of her tragic abortion and urged the committee to reject Senate Bill 20. Both Senator Hancock and Senator Taylor cleared up her misconceptions of the bill and compassionately offered sympathies, assuring her that Senate Bill 20 leaves alone insurance coverage for complications after or due to an abortion.
In response to a false claim about insurance estimates, Senator Taylor asked the witness from NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Blake Rocap, how the abortion lobby reached this false number. The conversation was spirited, and Mr. Rocap did not directly answer Senator Taylor’s question.
Amanda Williams from the Lilith Fund, a pro-abortion nonprofit and political organization, buttressed Elizabeth Graham’s testimony, informing the committee that the Lilith Fund indeed offers financial support for women seeking abortion. Amy Arranvida from Fund Texas Choice echoed the same commitment from her organization, proudly offering “scholarships” for women who can’t afford to kill their children on their own.
At the end of the hearing, the final witness represented various religious leaders in the state who favor SB 20, urging the committee to pass the insurance reform bill.
Both Senator Hancock and Senator Larry Taylor have achieved unblemished Pro-Life voting records for their support of the mission and goals of Texas Right to Life, and they did not disappoint in Tuesday’s hearing. Both senators drew attention to the humanity of the preborn child and the need to help pregnant women in crisis with life-affirming options, not financial aid to kill their children. Senators Hancock and Taylor also emphasized that health insurance consumers should be shielded from covering or paying for abortions. Senate Bill 20 was left pending, and the committee is expected to vote to move the bill onto the next step toward passage next week.