Yesterday, the House took up and considered HB 214, which would prevent private insurers from including abortion coverage in their standard plans. The bill allows for the coverage of abortions related to ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, and situations where the life of the mother is at risk; coverage for any other circumstances would require the purchase of a supplemental plan, though the legislation contains no requirement that such supplemental coverage be made available within the state.
Over the course of a debate which stretched for hours, Rep. Howard and others argued that the bill is unnecessary, does nothing to further the health and wellbeing of women, and is simply designed to further erode access to safe and legal abortion. Democratic lawmakers offered amendments to ensure that coverage could still be maintained for instances of rape or incest, or severe fetal abnormalities; however, those efforts were voted down.
This morning, Rep. Howard discussed her objections to the bill on the Texas Standard. You can listen to that interview here.