Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 214 into law August 15th that will ban insurance agencies, including the marketplace, from covering non-life threatening abortions. This law is being hailed as the “rape insurance” mandate. What this law calls for is that women, non-binary, and trans would have to pay an additional premium, if they wanted abortion coverage, with no exception for cases of incest or rape. But, Texas isn’t the only state to pass laws such as these. According to The Guttmacher Institute’s research, as of August 2017; 21 states restrict abortions for public employees, 10 states block coverage in the private sector, and 25 block coverage through the ACA exchange with an addition 18 accounting for multiple instances of restriction.
This law passed by Texas comes after the attempts within the U.S. Congress earlier this year to alter the Hyde Amendment, legislation which currently bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortions. The bill HR7 was targeted to piggyback off the Hyde Amendment’s need for reapproval every year, altering it in such a way as to permanently ban abortion coverage by; Medicaid, Indian Health Service, the U.S. military, and the Peace Corps. Furthermore, it was slated to barr Federal employee’s and their families from seeking abortion coverage from other sources. HR7 would have gone even further still, banning women from seeking private sector coverage on abortions. This amendment has been presented before congress every year since 2011 and has yet to pass, but with more states passing their own mandated versions of HR7, it’s passing vote in congress cannot be far off.
These increased attempts to limit women’s choices about their own bodies brings to mind Margaret Atwood’s dystopian society of Gilead, a society where women are nothing more than wives, or breeding objects and have had all rights and dignities stripped. Many Republicans, fueled by zealots, believe that approving these bills will help bring morals back into our society, thus bettering us, but I believe Margaret Atwood said it best “Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.”