A bill in the Washington state legislature would require that any insurance policy sold to state residents for maternity coverage also require policyholders to pay for coverage of abortions.
Lawmakers will vote on the bill on Friday and pro-life groups are calling for action.
“On Friday morning at 9 am, the Washington State House is planning to vote on a bill (HB 1044) that would require every insurance policy that covers maternity care to also cover abortion,” says Joseph Backholm of the Family Policy Institute.
“The need for this bill is highly questionable because every insurance company in Washington currently offers abortion coverage,” he explained. “While providing additional benefits to no one, the bill simply takes away purchasing options from those who prefer not to subsidize abortion with their premiums.”
Abortion backers claim the bill doesn’t post any conscience issues for Washington residents, but the pro-life advocate disagrees.
Backholm continued: “However, the State of Washington, in the case Storman v. Selecky, argued for years that those same state laws protecting conscience rights still allow the state to force pharmacists to sell drugs that cause abortions in violation of their conscience. If they believe current conscience protections allow them to tell businesses what products they must sell, their willingness to extend those same conscience rights in this context shouldn’t be much comfort.
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In committee testimony, churches, non-profit organizations, and women business owners, told the committee that they wanted the ability to purchase insurance policies that did not cover abortion, he said. Not a single person testified that they had ever had trouble obtaining an insurance policy that would cover abortion.
Washington state residents are urged to call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or email lawmakers here.