Texas Women Now Need To Take Out “Rape Insurance”

by Erika W. Smith

Texas women now need to take out “rape insurance,” thanks to an anti-reproductive rights bill signed into law last week.

Via Broadly, House Bill 214 removes abortion coverage from all private, state-offered, and ACA insurance plans — with no exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal abnormalities. Instead, women need to buy this insurance separately — “rape insurance,” as Texas Democrats are calling it.

The Hill details that the law’s abortion restrictions include abnormalities where the fetus does not develop kidneys or a brain.

Additionally, this means, as Broadly points out, that insurance companies may just decide to stop covering abortion altogether. In fact, many insurance companies — including Medicaid — already refuse to cover abortion; only about 5% of the 60,000 women who have abortions in Texas use insurance to pay it.

The Hill points out that abortions can cost up to $1,500 for a first trimester abortion and up to $10,000 for a second semester abortion, and that women who make less than $25K a year are twice as likely to be raped as women who make $50K or more per year — meaning that poor women are the most likely to need “rape insurance” and the least likely to be able to afford it.

Gov. Greg Abbot doesn’t care, though.

“As a firm believer in Texas values I am proud to sign legislation that ensures no Texan is ever required to pay for a procedure that ends the life of an unborn child,” Abbott said in a press release, via the Texas Tribune. “I am grateful to the Texas Legislature for getting this bill to my desk, and working to protect innocent life this special session.”

Other people pointed out how fucked up this law is.

“Women don’t plan to be raped. Parents don’t plan for their children to be victims of incest,” state Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, said, via the Texas Tribune. “Asking a woman or a parent to foresee something like that and buy supplemental insurance to cover that horrific possibility is not only ridiculous, it is cruel.”

“Throughout the regular legislative session and this special session, we have seen attack after attack on our reproductive freedoms,” NARAL Pro-Choice Texas executive director Heather Busby said in a statement. “The bills Gov. Abbott signed today are two in a long line of politically-motivated restrictions on abortion access that anti-choice lawmakers have forced through the Legislature, all of which prohibit Texans from making the decisions that are best for them. These attacks come from a concerted national effort to cut off access to abortion care.”

We recently wrote about how Texas has the highest maternal mortality in the United States. Laws like this will only make things worse.

This post was published on August 22, 2017

Top photo: Hulu/The Handmaid’s Tale

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