Texas taxpayers are being asked to fund abortions for low income mothers under a new bill filed this week in the state legislature, News Radio 1200 WOAI.
"I will fight for justice, including reproductive justice, and I believe that everyone deserves access to healthcare," State Rep. Sheryl Cole says.
The bill, HB 895, is being called Rosie's Law. It's named after Rosaura Jimenez, who died seeking an abortion in the Rio Grande Valley due to the Hyde Amendment. It would provide abortion coverage for low income Texas families enrolled in Medicaid.
It already has the support of pro-choice groups like the Lilith Fund.
"We work every day to remove the unnecessary barriers that prevent people from accessing safe abortion care in Texas communities. Rosie’s Law would remove one of the biggest barriers to abortion care in our state by ensuring that the reproductive rights of low-income Texans are respected-however much money they have," Executive Director Amanda B. Williams says.
Under current federal policy, the Hyde Amendment prohibits the Medicaid program from covering abortion. Texas outlawed elective abortions under Medicaid back in the 1970s. And Texas is not alone. A total of 35 states and the District of Columbia do not cover abortion within their state Medicaid programs.
The bill faces opposition from pro-life groups, who oppose taxpayer dollars being used for elective abortions.
Joe Pojman heads the Texas Alliance for life.
"The bill would require every person in Texas who pays state taxes to pay for thousands of abortions," he says.
Pro Choice groups have long railed against the state's tough abortion regulations. They feel it drives women like Jimenez underground, seeing healthcare.
Pojman disputes that argument, pointing to a large number of state-run pregnancy centers for low income women.
"Texas is doing a really good job taking care of low income women. We don’t need the Medicaid program to pay for elective abortions."