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“Rosie’s Law” Would Expand Abortion Care Access for Low-Income Texans

Named for a Rosaura “Rosie” Jimenez, who died seeking an abortion in the Rio Grande Valley due to the Hyde Amendment, the bill (HB 895) would provide abortion coverage for low income Texas families enrolled in Medicaid.

AUSTIN —“Rosie’s Law,” (House Bill 895) authored by Rep. Sheryl Cole, D-Austin, is the first bill of its kind that would expand insurance coverage for abortion for Texans enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program. The bill is part of an historic initiative led by Texas-based abortion funds, who provide financial assistance to thousands of Texans seeking abortion and are committed to removing the barriers low-income Texans face when seeking care.

For more than 40 years, low-income people in Texas and across the country have been denied affordable abortion care due to the Hyde Amendment, a federal policy that prohibits the Medicaid program from covering abortion. Currently, 35 states and the District of Columbia do not cover abortion within their state Medicaid programs, except for limited exceptions. Texas lawmakers banned Medicaid coverage for abortion decades ago, and a ban on private insurance coverage of abortion was passed during the 2017 Texas legislative session. Coverage bans of all kinds force low-income Texans to pay out of pocket for their abortion care and primarily affect low-income communities of color.

For more than 40 years, low-income people in Texas and across the country have been denied affordable abortion care due to the Hyde Amendment, a federal policy that prohibits the Medicaid program from covering abortion. Currently, 34 states and D.C. deny people coverage for abortion just because they are poor. Texas lawmakers banned Medicaid coverage for abortion decades ago, and a ban on private insurance coverage of abortion was passed during the 2017 Texas legislative session. Coverage bans of all kinds force low-income Texans to pay out of pocket for their abortion care and primarily affect low-income communities of color.

“Rosie’s Law” would ensure affordable abortion care for millions of Texans enrolled in Medicaid, and mirrors efforts in states across the country, including Oregon and Pennsylvania, to protect and expand abortion coverage.

Statement from Rep. Sheryl Cole:

“I am proud to file HB 895, known as Rosie’s Law. I will fight for justice, including reproductive justice, and I believe that everyone deserves access to healthcare.”

Statement from Frontera Fund Co Founder & Board Chair Rockie Gonzalez:

“Rosie’s Law honors the life of Rosaura “Rosie” Jimenez of Mcallen, TX. and her children who survive her. Families in the Rio Grande Valley experience unfair barriers to accessing the abortion care they want and need. Our work is based on the moral fiber that tells us wealth should not be a factor in anyone’s ability to make decisions about their bodies, their lives, or their families. Frontera Fund works to offer financial assistance and practical support to our Valley families and so should the state of Texas.”

Statement from Lilith Fund Executive Director Amanda B. Williams:

“We work everyday to remove the unnecessary barriers that prevent people from accessing safe abortion care in Texas communities. Rosie’s Law would remove one of the biggest barriers to abortion care in our state by ensuring that the reproductive rights of low-income Texans are respected—however much money they have.”

Statement from Texas Equal Access Fund Executive Director Kamyon Conner:

“Rosie’s Law would expand coverage of abortion by reducing superfluous restrictions to healthcare for low-income people. Equitable access to health care and abortion is essential regardless of income or race.”

Statement from Destiny Lopez, co-director, All* Above All:

“Rosie’s Law is bold legislation that will leave decisions about whether to end a pregnancy where they belong– with Texans and their families.  As we continue to fight injustice in all its forms, we must ensure that politicians aren’t able to take away someone’s health coverage just because they’re poor.”

Rosie’s Law would have a positive impact on the lives of people seeking abortion care in Texas. More information on Rosie Jimenez and her life is available online.

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Frontera Fund provides practical support and funding for abortion to people seeking abortions in the Rio Grande Valley and to people living in the Rio Grande Valley who have to travel to other clinics in Texas and out of state.

Lilith Fund funds abortion in central and southern regions of Texas and advocates for change through the movement for reproductive justice.

Texas Equal Access Fund provides funding to low-income people in the northern region of Texas who are seeking abortion and cannot afford it, while simultaneously working to end barriers to abortion access through community education and shifting the current culture toward reproductive justice.

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