Preserving the Right to Choose
Washington Bucks a National Trend with New Women's Rights Bill
Since the 2010 passage of President Obama's health care reform law, more than two dozen states have attempted to ban women's access to insurance-covered abortions in advance of new federal requirements that may require insurers to cover them. At least 13 states have succeeded in passing such bans. But this legislative session, Washington became the first (and only) state to buck the trend and consider legislation that would preserve women's access to comprehensive health care.
On January 8, Representative Eileen Cody (D-34), chair of the house Health Care and Wellness Committee, announced her sponsorship of the Reproductive Parity Act, a bill that would require all health insurance policies that offer maternity coverage to also cover abortions.
"All insurers currently offer abortion coverage along with their maternity care," explained Representative Cody during a press conference at Town Hall. "We're simply ensuring that women continue to have a full range of reproductive health care options."
Women's health advocates NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, and Legal Voice were instrumental in crafting the measure, and with Senator Steve Hobbs (D-44) sponsoring companion legislation in the state senate, Representative Cody is optimistic that Washington's pro-choice legislators will get the measure passed during the 2012 session. "We have a pro-choice legislature in a pro-choice state, and we will be able to move this bill forward," she said.