On Wednesday, May 3rd, Texas Equal Access Fund Executive Director Nan Little Kirkpatrick went down to Austin to testify in the House State Affairs committee against HB 1113. This bill would block abortion from being covered under private insurance, requiring those who want insurance coverage of abortion to purchase supplemental coverage. Here's what Nan read to the committee:
My name is Nan Kirkpatrick. I live in Dallas, and I am the executive director of Texas Equal Access Fund. We’re the abortion fund that serves the northern half of Texas. I am here in opposition to HB 1113. Every day our organization hears from people who are facing an unexpected pregnancy and can’t afford an abortion. Their stories are not unusual – every day, people all over Texas face unplanned pregnancies. Some will choose to carry those pregnancies, and we think that’s great. We support all people having the ability to make whatever reproductive decisions they want to make for themselves. But some of them will, for whatever reason, want to terminate the unplanned pregnancy. An unplanned pregnancy can have all kinds of impacts on a person’s life, their family, and their community. By banning private insurance coverage of abortion and requiring people to buy supplemental coverage for any kind of reproductive healthcare, including abortion, this law just puts more economic barriers between people and true reproductive decision making. You may not believe that this will impact very many people, but to that we would say that even one person being barred from abortion access because of economic barriers is one too many – and forcing people to carry unwanted pregnancies to term when they would otherwise choose to terminate has the potential to impact so many more people in our communities. Requiring low- and middle-income people to pay more every month for supplemental coverage for pregnancy-related care makes it just that much more of an economic burden. It also sends the message yet again that abortion is outside the realm of healthcare. Healthcare is the maintenance and improvement of physical and mental health, especially through the provision of medical services. Abortion fits squarely within that definition, and it also fits right into the spectrum of pregnancy-related healthcare specifically – which means it should be available to all who might need it in the event of an unplanned pregnancy. With unplanned pregnancy being an overwhelmingly common experience, banning abortion coverage outright from the possible offerings of a standard private insurance plan is moving us in the wrong direction when it comes to abortion access.
You can call the committee to log your opposition to HB 1113.