Rep. Sheryl Cole & Sen. Sarah Eckhardt Lead Historic Bicameral Introduction of “Rosie’s Law,” a Bill to Restore Health Insurance Coverage of Abortion


AUSTIN — State Representative Sheryl Cole (D-Austin) and State Senator Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin) just filed “Rosie’s Law” (HB 1362) and (SB 448), to expand insurance coverage of abortion for Texans enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program and repeal the 2017 ban on private insurance coverage of abortion. The bill is named to honor the life of Rosaura “Rosie” Jimenez of McAllen, Texas. Texas based abortion funds, Frontera Fund, Lilith Fund, and Texas Equal Access (TEA) Fund, are leading the effort to repeal abortion coverage bans through the Rosie’s Law Coalition.

“When Texans need healthcare, it is vital that they receive it. The State of Texas should not be in the business of interfering with decisions made between Texans and their doctors, and medical procedures, including abortion, should not be reserved for only the wealthy and privileged few,” said Rep. Sheryl Cole. “Rosie’s Law, named in honor of Rosie Jimenez, the first known victim of the Hyde Amendment, would be a massive step forward for reproductive justice.”

Today’s filing of Rosie’s Law in the Texas Senate marks the first time in the history of the chamber that this legislation has been filed.

“The Texas Legislature should be actively seeking to restore women’s access to health care, including abortion, after decades of attacks on these fundamental rights. I’m proud to carry Rosie’s Law, an important first step towards restoring Texans’ right to access life saving care,” said Sen. Sarah Eckhardt.

Rosie Jimenez, a beloved mother, aspiring teacher, and daughter of migrant farm workers,  lost her life in 1977 seeking abortion care because Medicaid would not cover her abortion due to the Hyde amendment, which bans the use of federal funds for abortion. Frontera Fund, a Rio Grande Valley based abortion fund, now serves the community Rosie was from. 

“We continue to honor the legacy of Rosie Jimenez as we fight to ensure that all Texans have access to the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare services regardless of zip code and income in order to sustain the freedom to make personal healthcare choices that work best for themselves and their families,” said Nancy Cardenas Peña, board member with Frontera Fund. 

Abortion funds, which provide financial assistance and/or practical support for people seeking abortion care, have been fighting to eliminate the barriers that get between their clients and the care they need.

“At Texas Equal Access Fund we know that abortion is necessary and essential healthcare. Every day we witness how unjust laws create barriers to abortion which harm the people we serve and make abortion inaccesable,” said Kamyon Conner, Executive Director of TEA Fund. “No matter what type of health insurance they have, every Texan should be able to get the full range of reproductive healthcare including abortion. Rosie’s Law would make the right to abortion a reality for Texans.” 

Abortion funds successfully mobilized against anti-abortion attacks during the pandemic, and they are now mobilizing in support of expanding access to abortion care during the legislative session. 

“As the pandemic continues to disproportionately harm low-income communities of color, expanding access to healthcare must be a top priority this session. Passing Rosie’s Law would do just that,” said Amanda Beatriz Williams, Executive Director of the Lilith Fund. “A majority of Texans already support policies like Rosie’s Law. Our coalition is ready to mobilize Texans, center the voices of those who have had abortions, and engage legislators to expand abortion access.”

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