The Washington state House today approved a bill which would require all insurance policies in Washington State to cover abortion. Proponents of the legislation refer to it as the Reproductive Parity Act (RPA).
Proponents of the bill argued that the mandate is necessary to ensure that women’s choices about their pregnancies are not dictated by their insurance coverage.
The state House passed House Bill 2148 54-44 with two Democrats voting against the bill and Republican Chad Magendanz of Issaquah voting for it. The House approve it last year but pro-life advocates were able to kill the measure in the Senate.
During the hearing, several women, including a young mother and a student, testified that women should have the choice to decide for themselves if they wanted abortion coverage and should not be forced into it by the government.
Joseph Backholm, Executive Director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, has written about this concerning measure:
“Washington legislators have introduced legislation that would require all insurance policies that offer maternity coverage to also cover abortion,” the pro-life organization says. “This approach is consistent with Washington’s general approach of denying choice to anyone who doesn’t agree with them by taking away options from insurance providers and individuals to provide or purchase insurance plans that do not offer abortion.”
“This is similar to the militantly anti-choice position that the state is currently taking against an Olympia pharmacy that does not want to sell abortion drugs. Pro-choice, as long as you make the right choice,” FPIW says.
David Schmidt of Live Action also looked at the bill and said it is something that should engender strong opposition.
“Planned Parenthood and other abortion industry allies like NARAL are rallying behind a new Washington State bill that would require health insurance coverage for abortion if a health plan covers maternity care,” he says. “This act will force everyone, include those with pro-life values, to purchase an insurance plan that pays for elective abortion if they want an insurance plan that contains maternity coverage. Those interested in an insurance plan without abortion coverage would be banned from having their plan cover maternity care.”
Schmidt noted how leading pro-abortion groups are pressing for the legislation.
“Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest which is the political lobbying arm of Planned Parenthood of the Northwest states, “we want to make sure all insurance policies provide abortion coverage,’” he said. “NARAL Pro-Choice Washington is also backing the mandated abortion coverage proposal and says that they have “mobilized its statewide network of members and activists to call and email their legislators in support of the Reproductive Parity Act.’”
On the other side, Dan Kennedy, CEO of Human Life of Washington, told the Seattle Times that “to mandate that we violate our conscience is tyranny.”
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