Texas state Sen. Donna Campbell (R) argued on Wednesday that a bill banning insurance plans from covering abortions should not include exceptions for rape and incest unless there was a police report because a woman’s word alone was not “measurable.”
After the Texas Senate passed SB 575 on Wednesday by a 21-10 vote, Democratic state Sen. Sylvia R. Garcia moved to amend the measure by offering the same language used to provide exceptions for rape and incest that had been used in a 2011 sonogram law.
But Campbell moved to modify Garcia’s amendment, saying that it was “enabling” abusers by not forcing victims to report the crimes to police.
State Sen. Kirk Watson (D) pointed out that many women did not report their abusers to police because they feared retribution.
“Instead of encouraging that hypothetical situation into moving into protection for her by law enforcement, we’re saying, let’s cover that violation with an insurance payment,” Campbell complained. “When she gets the abortion, I would question, are we empowering the perpetrator because now out of a coercion, [the abortion is] paid for by an insurance company, and then it may happen to her again?”
“This is talking about an insurance policy,” she continued. “When it’s reported, something that’s measurable within the box, that when it’s reported to law enforcement authorities. Then we have something measurable, that insurance companies like to have specific codes, that they then have something that they can then hang their hat on.”
Watson shot back that Campbell’s amendment would “put the burden on the incest victim or put the burden on the rape victim.”
“We ought to let her make those decisions as opposed to you and me right now on this floor trying to come up with a scenario where we’re worried about what we might do with the perpetrator,” Watson explained. “The perpetrator is bad. We all know that. But the situation that the young woman finds herself in is also very bad and horrible and we’re going to make that worse. I think what we ought to do is we ought to trust women.”
“You will be creating a situation where women who are already victims will be further victimized,” he insisted. “I would ask that you not do this.”
For her part, Campbell said that her restrictions would be “helping to stop a perpetrator by reporting the assault, the incest.” And if women were not forced to report assaults, “we lose the opportunity to help protect and defend the woman who is the victim here,” she said.
“Personally, I believe that if we’re asking an insurance company to pay for an abortion, we should also show that we’re doing everything we can to help them — in the cases of sexual assault or incest — that we’re doing everything we can to help find the perpetrator.”
In the end, Campbell’s modifications were not necessary because the bill’s sponsor rejected the amendment, and the bill banning abortion coverage was passed without exceptions for rape and incest. The bill now heads to the state House.
Watch the video below from the Texas Senate.