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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, August 13, 2017 1:00 am

Texas Senate backs abortion insurance limit

Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas – The Republican-controlled Texas Senate backed a plan Saturday night to restrict insurance coverage for abortions, over the objections of opponents who expressed concern it could force some women to make heart-wrenching choices because no exceptions will be made in cases of rape and incest.

The 20-10 party-line vote for preliminary approval requires women to purchase extra insurance to cover abortions except amid medical emergencies. A final vote today will see the measure clear the chamber, meaning it’s now on a fast-track to Gov. Greg Abbott, who is expected to sign it into law.

Ten states already have laws restricting insurance coverage of abortion in all private insurance plans: Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Utah. All make exceptions if the mother’s life is endangered; only Indiana and Utah also make exceptions for rape and incest.

“Texas must take steps to prohibit taxpayer and premium dollars from subsidizing abortions that are not medically necessary,” said Sen. Brandon Creighton, a Republican from Conroe, near Houston.

Outnumbered Democrats in both chambers dismissed the bill as purely political, arguing that insurance companies already cover only medically necessary abortions.