Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform takes effect in Texas December 1, 2017. The legislation passed during the First Called Special Session of the Texas Legislature as House Bill 214. Many years in the making, Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform protects Pro-Life Texans from paying for the elective abortions of others through tax dollars or private insurance premiums. The reform recognizes the Pro-Life values held by the majority of Texans and prevents health insurance from funding elective abortion by default.
Beginning today, the law removes elective abortion coverage from standard health insurance benefits offered by private and state employee plans, in addition to elective abortion coverage from public plans subsidized by the Affordable Care Act. Abortions in cases of medical emergency can still be covered in standard plans, but elective abortion would only be covered through the purchase of supplemental insurance coverage. As such, Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform does not ban insurance coverage of elective abortion, but instead protects Pro-Life citizens from being forced to subsidize the killing of the preborn.
Pro-Life legislators have brought Health Insurance Reform before the Texas Legislature for many years. Senator Larry Taylor (R- Friendswood) and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick worked to ensure passage of the reform in the State Senate five times in the past two State Legislatures, but House leadership blocked the measure from ever reaching the governor’s desk. Senator Taylor carried the Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform bill in 2015 and in the regular session of 2017, and Representative John Smithee (R- Amarillo) authored the House version. After moderate House leadership thwarted the Pro-Life effort again in the final days of the regular session, Governor Abbott made Health Insurance Reform a priority for the first called special session.
During the special session this year, Senator Brandon Creighton (R- Conroe) carried the bill in the Senate, and under the leadership of Lt. Governor Patrick the reform passed less than 10 days after the special session began, along with all other priority Pro-Life bills. Once again, the House delayed, leaving the Senate version languishing in committee. Representative Smithee succeeded in bringing the House version to the floor, and the bill was voted out of the House with bipartisan support. Picking up the slack of the House, the Senate passed the policy yet again in the House bill and the Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform was signed into law by Governor Abbott.
Without the tireless efforts of Senator Taylor, Representative Smithee, Senator Creighton, and Lt. Governor Patrick, Pro-Life Texans would still be forced to pay for the elective abortions of others, a violation of conscience and common sense. Despite the efforts of House leadership under now-resigned liberal Joe Straus, Pro-Life champions in the Texas House and Senate succeeded in passing a Pro-Life priority this past summer. Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform not only protects consumers in the health insurance market but also cuts off one more loophole for taxpayer funding of elective abortion. The law is a victory for all Pro-Life and preborn Texans.