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Texas House votes to restrict insurance coverage of abortion

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The Texas House has given preliminary approval to a bill requiring women to purchase separate insurance policies for coverage of abortions, except in cases of medical emergency.

Amarillo Republican Rep. John Smithee's proposal was approved 95-51 after hours of debate Tuesday.

A final House vote Wednesday would send it to the Texas Senate, which approved a similar proposal last month.

Smithee said the bill only requires purchasing supplemental coverage for "elective" abortions, and promotes "economic freedom" by ensuring that Texans who object to abortions don't have to subsidize them for other insurance policyholders.

Democratic opponents called the bill anti-women's health and "strictly political." They argued that insurance companies don't recognize elective abortions and already only cover the procedure when it's medically necessary.

Texas' 30-day special legislative session ends next week.

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