Texas has been in the spotlight a number of times this year for its ever-toughening stance on women’s reproductive rights.
Back in March, women donned red capes and white bonnets à la The Handmaid’s Tale to storm the Texas Senate in protest of Senate Bill 25, a proposed law that would enable doctors to lie to pregnant women about the health of their baby.
Then in June, Margaret Atwood, who penned the dystopian novel-turned-hit-TV-show, slammed Texan law-makers over Senate Bill 8, which would not only make it significantly harder for a woman to end her pregnancy, but also bring into law a requirement for the fetal tissue to be buried or cremated.
And now all eyes are on the American state yet again, with the news that lawmakers have actually passed one of the numerous bills that have been proposed to strip women of the right to control their bodies.
The new law, dubbed the “rape insurance” bill, mandates that abortion coverage is removed from all insurance plans and sold individually to women as a separate policy. The law does not provide exceptions for rape, incest or fetal abnormalities.
This means that women who want to be covered for the costs of an abortion – which can be up to $3,000 depending on the type of abortion needed – will need to pay upfront for extra insurance. However, there is a possibility that insurance companies could stop providing coverage for the procedure completely, meaning women won’t be able to secure any kind of insurance for abortions.
The law, officially named House Bill 214, was signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who said in a statement, “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.
“This bill prohibits insurance providers from forcing Texas policy holders to subsidize elective abortions. I am grateful to the Texas legislature for getting this bill to my desk, and working to protect innocent life this special session.”
He also took to Twitter to share an image of himself grinning and holding up the legislation, while flanked by two of the bill’s main supporters.
Despite the tweet getting some 1,200 likes and 500 retweets, there were also hundreds of replies from women furious at the new law.
“Did you staff up the suicide hotlines? How about foster care agencies? How about abuse hotlines? All are going to need more help now...” wrote one user.
“And again a bill that decided over a women's body signed by men... disgusting, we are moving back in time,” added another.
As one woman put it: “You have no right to tell a women what to do with her body.”
We couldn’t agree more.