Two years ago, when Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform passed the Texas Senate during the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature, momentum seemed finally to be in favor of the policy after three failed attempts to pass the bill. The policy, carried by Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) and Representative John Smithee (R-Amarillo), aimed to protect Pro-Life Texans from unknowingly or unwillingly subsidizing others’ abortion coverage through their insurance premiums and tax dollars.
Such a policy should pass both chambers fairly easily since even some pro-abortion lawmakers do not believe Texans who are morally opposed should fund the abortions of others. However, in 2015, the House Committee on State Affairs intentionally delayed voting on the bill until the crucial last days of session. Their tactical delay ensured the bill would die by forcing the House Committee on Calendars to schedule the bill for debate on the last eligible day while granting committee members political cover for the next election cycle. Facing a midnight deadline for the Pro-Life priority, pro-abortion Democrats and liberal Republicans seized the opportunity to happily stall the calendar through incessant amendments and time consuming questions (a process known as chubbing) to prevent the measure from passing. Unsurprisingly, the Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform suffered a death by delay.
Pro-Life grassroots activists and voters denounced this fraudulent strategy, refusing to blame Democrats for the decision by Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), Chair of the House Committee on State Affairs, to guarantee the measure’s demise.
Yet, two years later, we find ourselves in virtually the same scenario. This time, however, the House Calendars Committee did not even schedule the bill, Senate Bill 20, for a floor debate. Byron Cook carefully waited to vote Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform out of State Affairs until the last 13 days of session. Following the vote, four more crucial days expired while Cook “slow-walked” the bill to the Calendars Committee. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), Chair of the House Committee on Calendars, received the bill one day before the deadline to set the final calendar and SB 20 did not make the cut.
In a deep red state like Texas, we should not have to worry about our insurance premiums and taxpayer dollars funding others’ abortions. However when a policy to remove abortion coverage from insurance plans fails again after four sessions, remember you have no one but Republicans to thank.
Update: In a valiant eleventh-hour move, Pro-Life Senator Larry Taylor added Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform to another House Bill being considered by the Senate. Proving his commitment to protecting the preborn and Texans’ conscience rights, Taylor has given this priority legislation new life after the House officially killed Senate Bill 20. There is one procedural vote left in the House to accept or strip the Pro-Life amendment. Again, phony Republicans will seize this opportunity for malicious political games, but Texas Right to Life will work to thwart such antics. Follow breaking updates on Texas Right to Life’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.