By Kim Schwartz, Communications Director, Texas Right to Life
The Texas Senate passed a bill to extend Medicaid coverage to 12 months for new mothers, but the measure could unintentionally incentivize illegal and out-of-state abortions.
House Bill 12 by Representative Toni Rose (D – Dallas), sponsored by Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R – Brenham), would extend medical insurance coverage to low-income mothers in Texas from two months after giving birth to a full year after birth. Extending Medicaid coverage to one year postpartum was the top recommendation by the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee to reduce preventable deaths among new mothers. This is indeed an important Pro-Life goal for this legislative session.
This session, Texas Right to Life had the unpopular job of telling elected officials that the language in HB 12 could actually allow for a full year of coverage following an elective abortion, whether that abortion was done illegally in Texas or somewhere outside of the state.
Abortion is lethal to the innocent preborn child and dangerous to the mother’s physical and mental health. Women who are pressured to seek abortions deserve compassion and resources to recover from the mental and physical trauma. Efforts to promote women’s health care should never come at the expense of their preborn children.
Because of our advocacy on this issue, Senators approved an amendment that explains the legislative intent for HB 12 does not aim to provide medical coverage after an elective abortion. Unfortunately, the language adopted may end up being merely symbolic and fail to stop the pro-abortion Biden administration from adopting dangerous Medicaid rules. Throughout the session, Texas Right to Life repeatedly brought effectual amendments to the authors that actually would have excluded elective abortion, however these amendments were never taken up or voted upon. We support the bill’s intended policy outcome, but we are disappointed the enforceable language affirming the Pro-Life stance of our state was never voted on.
Furthermore, the Texas House refused to concur with the Senate’s amendment. Instead, the two chambers rewrote the language removing explicit references to elective abortion and stated their purpose in the bill was to provide medical coverage for “mothers whose pregnancies end in the delivery of the child or end in the natural loss of the child.” Time will tell if this language is strong enough to stop the pro-abortion agenda of the Biden administration.
While Texas works to build a truly Pro-Life state for women and their children, we must remain vigilant to oppose all efforts to legitimize illegal or out of state abortions. We must not allow for the pro-abortion Biden administration any room to use taxpayer funds for post-abortion medical care.