Whose Heartbeat Matters?
by Texas Family Project
2019 has seen an increasing wave around the country of anti-choice legislation. Many of these bills focus on the fetal heartbeat as a point in the development of the fetus where it spontaneously sprouts legal rights, often negating the rights of the mother.
Texas, thankfully, has so far avoided this arbitrary, anti-science, emotionally charged attempt at limiting reproductive rights. But the movement is growing. The same propaganda is being spread in the attempt to sanctify the fetal heartbeat.
But is the heartbeat of the fetus the only one conservatives care about? Based on GOP policy it’s as if you are damned as soon as your heart beats outside of the uterus.
Bills that would have expanded Medicaid for mothers until a year post-delivery have failed. Despite our state’s abysmal maternal mortality rate, one bill that could have helped many mothers, HB 744, failed in the GOP majority Texas Senate.
Even after it was reported that 50,000 children are dropped from their health insurance due to something as trivial as paperwork errors a bill to prevent this, HB 342, didn’t even make it to the floor for a vote this session.
Austin has failed the 4.3 million Texas residents without healthcare coverage and that number continues to rise. This 1.75 times the national average, including over 600,000 children. This creates significant problems in the financing and delivery of healthcare to all Texans. Those who lack insurance coverage typically enjoy far-worse health status than their insured counterparts. Many Texans will skip health care they need, often turning minor treatable illnesses into chronic, debilitating and sometimes fatal diseases.
Texas is number one in the country for the most uninsured residents, tops the nation in maternal mortality and boasts some of the highest healthcare premiums. The Commonwealth Fund reports Texas ranks last in the U.S. in health care access and affordability, yet not a single piece of legislation passed this year to work toward a remedy.
Sara Collins, VP of The Commonwealth Fund recently said “The major driver of the uninsured rate in Texas is the state’s decision not to expand eligibility for Medicaid, so that’s leaving many, many people without insurance coverage.” SB 524 would have given Texans the choice to vote for Medicaid expansion but the GOP majority killed the bill, denying us the opportunity to make that decision.
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