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Texas bill restricting insurance coverage for abortions nears approval

• http://www.reuters.com, Jon Herskovitz

The House measure would ban insurance coverage for abortions and require women who wanted coverage to purchase a supplemental plan for an abortion, the latest effort by the most-populous Republican-controlled state to place restrictions on the procedure.

If enacted, the bill would take effect on Dec. 1 and make Texas the 11th state to restrict abortion coverage in private insurance plans written in the state.

The Republican-dominated Senate has passed a similar bill, and Republican Governor Greg Abbott has shown support for the measures.

The bill's backers say it would protect abortion opponents from subsidizing the procedure. A Democratic critic decried it as forcing people to buy "rape insurance."

"It's a question of economic freedom and freedom in general," Republican Representative John Smithee, the bill's sponsor, said in House debate on Tuesday ahead of the bill receiving preliminary approval.

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