Texas bans all insurance coverage for abortions, forcing women to take out 'rape insurance'

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Texas has introduced a new law forcing women to pay a premium for health insurance to cover abortions – dubbed ‘rape insurance’.

Senators approved the bill which will prevent all insurance companies from covering abortion under their standard plans.

It will mean women will have to pre-emptively pay additional fees if they think they may need an abortion within the next year.

The House Bill 214, introduced by Governor Greg Abbott, includes exceptions for medical emergencies but does not make allowances for pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest, or instances of foetal abnormalities. 

Law: The new rules will mean women have to pay a pre-emptive fee in case they need an abortion (Getty Images/Canopy)

Those supporting the ban said they did not want to be responsible for funding abortions through their own health insurance payments.

Republican John Smithee, who sponsored the bill in the House, said in the debate that the bill promotes “economic freedom” for people who oppose abortions.

But those condemning the bill said it would force women to essentially take out “rape insurance” because it would be impossible to predict the likelihood of being raped in the coming year.

Debate: Critics of the bill pointed out women cannot plan to become preganant from rape (Shutterstock / sirtravelalot)

During the debate, Republican Chris Turner said: “Women don’t plan to be raped. Parents don’t plan for their children to be victims of incest.

“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.” 

But the bill was voted through and signed by Governor Abbott on Tuesday, who said in a statament: “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.

“I am grateful to the Texas Legislature for getting this bill to my desk, and working to protect innocent life this special session.”

A law which would limit transgender people’s access to public bathrooms was also put forward by Gov. Abbott but was blocked.

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