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Texan women will need to take out "rape insurance" just in case they need an abortion

An already pretty shocking week in US politics just got a lot worse.

By Kate Wagner

In the latest instalment of what even is America: Women in Texas will now have to take out ‘rape insurance’ if they need an abortion.

After a big week of the president threatening nuclear war, practically endorsing white supremacists and attacking a black CEO for quitting his council after the now infamous “many sides” speech, the American government has gone ahead and trumped itself (pun intended).

Yesterday, a group of old white men Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law banning all insurance coverage for abortion. This means women have to take out separate policies just in case they might ever need an abortion in cases of rape, incest, and fatal foetal abnormalities – none of which are things you can really plan for.

While Texas having a crack at their favourite punching bag reproductive rights isn’t necessarily surprising, it does bring us a step closer to a terrifying dystopia of Handmaid’s Tale proportions.

After passing what’s nicknamed the “rape insurance” bill – a name that some might argue should be enough to stop anyone agreeing with it – the men behind it celebrated that those with “moral, religious and philosophical objections” would not have to pay for the procedure.

"As a firm believer in Texas values I am proud to sign legislation that ensures no Texan is ever required to pay for a procedure that ends the life of an unborn child," said Governor Abbott in a press release.

"Under this new law Texans will not be forced to pay for elective abortions through their insurance plans."

In reality, the bill is mainly a political show pony because the number of women it’ll actually affect is quite small, but that’s only because coverage for abortions is already abysmal at best.

However, it would be naïve to ignore the fact that the women it will affect are already in extremely painful and difficult situations and critics have described passing the bill as “unconscionable”.

Even more unconscionable is the fact that the maternal mortality rate in Texas recently doubled, making it the highest in the developed world, and politicians and lawmakers have done practically nothing to address this. If the “rape insurance” bill will do anything, it’ll only add to this already terrifying statistic.

Earlier this year, the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs unanimously passed a bill on to the Senate which would let the government decide what a pregnant woman is allowed to know about her unborn baby’s health.

The bill means doctors could decide whether to tell a woman that she’s carrying a foetus with severe disabilities – the crux of that decision depending on if the doctor suspects she’ll have an abortion if she finds out.

Hope you guys look good in long red gowns and white hoods...