Twice in the last 24 hours, abortion industry advocates in the State Senate have tried to force a vote on the Abortion Insurance Mandate bill (EHB 1044) which would require every health insurance policy sold in Washington to cover abortion and deny consumers choice in insurance products. Both times, the attempts have narrowly failed.
The Senate Majority Caucus in the state senate formed when two Democrats joined with the Republicans to take control of the Senate agenda. The coalition, which formed around budget issues, differs on social issues and had agreed not to let them come up for a vote in order to be able to work together on other issues.
As a result, the Abortion Insurance Mandate was not even passed out of committee, a typical prerequisite for consideration by the full body.
However, abortion industry advocates have been trying desperately to force a vote on the bill.
The first attempt was late yesterday afternoon, when Sen. Ed Murray attempted a procedural motion that would allow the minority to take control of the Senate agenda and bring this bill to the floor despite the fact that it was never passed out of committee.
That motion was defeated 25-23.
The second attempt to revive this bill took place this morning when Sen. Karen Keiser attempted to attach the abortion insurance mandate bill as an amendment to EHB 1638, a bill dealing with insurance, generally.
That amendment was also defeated 25-23.
The priority placed on this bill, from the beginning of the session until now, is somewhat puzzling. During his inaugural speech, Gov. Inslee stated that the virtually unheard of “Reproductive Parity Act”, as abortion industry advocates refer to it, was one of his top legislative priorities along with education and jobs.
Their efforts in the last 24 hours continue to show that it is a high priority. But why?
Polling shows that the public does not share their enthusiasm for this idea as 50% of the state opposes the mandate while 42% support it. In addition, during lengthy public hearings, not a single woman has testified that she has ever been unable to get a health insurance policy that covers abortion. On the other hand, literally hundreds of women have told the legislature that they want the choice not to purchase insurance products that cover abortion.
While this bill would not make abortion more available to anyone (assuming you think that’s a good thing), the freedoms of millions of Washingtonians who would rather not subsidize abortions through insurance premiums would be lost.
The two failed attempts to pass this bill in the last 24 hours does not mean the bill is dead, however.
In the legislature, anything can happen and often does. The maneuvers by abortion industry advocates clearly evidence that they are willing to do whatever they can to eliminate consumer options in the health insurance market.
But so far, individual liberty and rights of conscience appears to be winning.
Please continue to contact your legislators through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 to share your thoughts on the Abortion Insurance Mandate (EHB 1044) or click here to email them. Contact your friends and neighbors and ask them to do the same. Forward this email so they know what’s happening. The cumulative effect of each person doing their part is significant.
Even if the bill is defeated this year, it will certainly return next year. As citizens, it is our job to have an on-going dialogue with those who represent us and remember important issues like conscience rights and religious freedom when deciding who we vote for.
Be courteous, but make sure you are heard.
LifeNews.com Note: Joseph Backholm is the Executive Director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, a pro-family, pro-life organization that opposes a bill in the Washington legislature that attacks pregnancy centers helping women.