St. Mary's Law Journal


Texas House Bill 214 (H.B. 214) is subject to challenge under the Supreme Court precedent protecting a woman’s right to choose. Passed in 2017, H.B. 214 regulates Texas insurance markets by prohibiting coverage for an elective abortion unless a woman affirmatively opts into such coverage through a separate contract and pays a separate premium. Similar restrictions on insurance coverage for elective abortion in other states have been met with mixed results in the courts. What sets H.B. 214 apart from other regulations of insurance coverage for abortion is that it does not include any exceptions for abortions in cases of rape or incest, exceptions recognized under the federal Hyde Amendment. Under Planned Parenthood of Se. Pennsylvania v. Casey and its progeny, an abortion regulation is unconstitutional if either its purpose or its effect is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion, or if the asserted health care claims underlying the regulation do not in fact regulate in the interest of health. This Comment argues that the political climate and history of abortion regulations in Texas indicates that H.B. 214 is motivated by a purpose to substantially restrict women’s access to abortion in Texas, H.B. 214’s cost-shifting effect places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking an abortion in Texas, and that the purported purposes of H.B. 214 do not regulate in the interest of women’s health because there are existing measures in place, such as the Hyde Amendment, that adequately protect the economic freedom of those opposed to abortion.

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St. Mary's University School of Law


Katherine Spiser Rios