Today, Wednesday, May 6th, the State Senate overwhelmingly approved on third reading Senate Bill 575 by Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) that reforms insurance coverage of abortion. Led by Pro-Life champ Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, the State Senate took this lead on passing new Pro-Life protections during this 84th Session of the Texas Legislature. SB 575 passed by a 21-10 margin, taking another step in protecting Texans from subsidizing the abortion industry.
In addition to reforming private insurance coverage for abortion, SB 575 includes a provision authorized in the Affordable Care Act that confirms states can opt out of covering abortion in the mandated exchanges. State Senator Larry Taylor explained that the bill’s purpose is to make coverage for abortion available by separate, supplemental plans for those who choose such coverage: “Under this bill, Texans can choose to pay for abortions, or they can choose not to pay for the abortions of others.”
25 other states have excluded abortion coverage from the state exchanges; 21 other states restrict coverage for abortion for governmental employees, and 10 states protect private insurance consumers from participating in abortion coverage through their private benefit plans.
Texas Right to Life is proud that Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Senator Larry Taylor—both past honorees of Texas Right to Life—have positioned the State Senate as the leader on Pro-Life issues during this Legislative Session by passing SB 575, one of Texas Right to Life’s priority bills. The majority of voters and citizens of Texas are Pro-Life and want more protections on Life; Lieutenant Governor Patrick and Senator Taylor recognize this urgency and have responded by shepherding SB 575 through the State Senate, paving the Pro-Life path in the waning days of this 84th Texas Legislature.
~Melissa Conway, Director of External Relations for Texas Right to Life.
The companion bill to SB 575 is House Bill 1435 by Representative John Smithee (R – Amarillo), and is pending in the House Committee on State Affairs. However, that committee has passed another bill that only addresses the state exchanges and state employees and does not apply Pro-Life protections to the entire health insurance market like SB 575 or HB 1435.
Follow Texas Right to Life’s legislative blog for updates on these important bills.