Senate resurrects ban on abortion insurance

May 23, 2017
Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood

The Texas Senate revived a stalled abortion measure late Monday night by adding it as an amendment to a bill on insurance information for doctors.

House Bill 3124 was amended to add language from Senate Bill 20, which would ban abortion coverage in private insurance plans as well as plans offered to state employees and participants in the Affordable Care Act. Abortion coverage would have to be purchased in supplemental plans.

Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, moved to add the abortion language, gaining support from all Republicans and one Democrat, Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. of Brownsville.

The Senate followed by giving initial approval to HB 3124. A final vote was expected Tuesday night, returning the bill to the House.

Supporters argue that Texas policyholders, particularly those who oppose abortion, should not have to pay into plans that could reimburse someone else’s abortion. Opponents say the prohibition improperly limits Texans’ health care options and would have a disproportionate effect on low-income, young and minority Texans.

Passed by the Senate on a largely party-line vote in late March, SB 20 died in the House earlier this week. A similar bill passed the Senate in 2015 but died in the House.