Washington State Bill Would Require All Health Insurers to Cover AbortionS

A reproductive rights-related bill that wouldn't shut down every Planned Parenthood clinic in the state, make women wait approximately 10,000 years to get an abortion or otherwise effectively overturn Roe v. Wade miraculously passed the Washington State House and might very well pass the Senate. It's almost as if the state's politicians actually believe ladies should have control over their own uteri!

H.B. 1044, also known as the Reproductive Parity Act, would require nearly all Washington health insurers to pay for elective abortions. All gallows humor about the depressing state of reproductive rights aside, Washington's history suggests the bill has a solid chance of becoming reality, since Washington is the only state ever to have legalized abortion through a popular vote — in 1970, a whole three years before Roe.

But given the hoops women have to jump through in other states to get a fucking abortion — like, you know, actually finding an open clinic within a few hundred miles that would deign to handle such sinful work — we'll still be keeping our fingers tightly crossed.

"States are overwhelmingly ruled by anti-choice politicians," Donna Crane, policy director for NARAL Pro-Choice America, told the New York Times. "The Affordable Care Act has probably added some extra octane to the efforts from our opponents."

It's true: Obamacare has inspired at least 17 states to enact legislation that restricts abortion coverage in their insurance exchanges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That's why liberal Washington legislators and advocates say the Reproductive Parity Act is crucial.

"Today every carrier and nearly every plan in Washington already covers abortion," Elaine Rose, the chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, said at yesterday's crowded public hearing before the Senate Health Care Committee. "The Reproductive Parity Act will keep it that way."

Last February, the bill passed by a 53-to-43 vote in the Democrat-controlled State House, where it was also amended to provide for a religious conscience exemption for employers or insurance carriers that oppose abortion because Jesus never had one. (So he claimed.) A backer of the bill in the Senate said that 25 senators out of 49 have signed on to vote yes if the measure reaches the floor.

Of course, even in magical "We <3 Abortion" Washington (new state motto/bumper sticker?) the bill has numerous loudmouth opponents with inane soundbites to share.

"This is also a bullying bill" that forces people who oppose abortion to be part of a system that permits abortions, said Angela Connelly, president of the Washington Women's Network, which she described as an advocacy group working on issues including human trafficking and elder abuse. "We cannot insist on one agenda oppressing another."

Because women affected by trafficking and abuse never need abortions.


[NY Times]