First of Abbott's Priorities, Abortion Restrictions, Approved by Lege

Anti-abortion activists arrive at the US Supreme C

Anti-abortion activists arrive at the US Supreme C

The first of Gov. Abbott's twenty priorities for the Special Session to make it to his desk will be a bill that will prohibit the use of standard health insurance to pay for 'elective abortions,' News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"The pasage of the Affordable Care Act gave us as a state the option of opting out of this coverage, and I am proposing that we opt out of it," said State Rep. John Smithee (R-Amarillo) who is the sponsor of the bill.

The Texas House approved the bill last night.  It is identical to a Senate bill, and on third reading will go to Abbott's desk for his signature.

Smithee's argument is that insurance is a 'mutual' benefit, meaning one person's premiums are used to pay for another person's medical needs, and people who oppose abortion should not be required to subsidize abortions.

Under Smithee's bill, women could buy a separate insurance policy, with the premium capped at $12 a month, to cover only the possibilty of elective abortion. 

Since a very small subset of women would be likely to purchase this insurance, it is not clear that any insurance companies would offer it.

State Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) who is a registered nurse, said the entire argument is ridiculous.

"Most insurance carries do not cover procedures, whether it is an eyelift or an abortion, that they don't deem to be medically necessary," she said.

Smithee said his bill will allow coverage for abortions when doctors say it is needed to save the life of the mother, or due to abnormalities in the fetus.

Abbott is expected to sign the bill, which Howard blasted as being entirely for show.

"To have another notch in the belt, because insurance is already not covering abortions that are not medically necessary."

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