Rep. Cody, Rep. Jinkins, and Sen. Keiser gabbing about lady plumbing.
  • Rep. Cody, Rep. Jinkins, and Sen. Keiser gabbing about lady plumbing.
Since the passage of Obama's Affordable Care Act, dozens of states have attempted to restrict women's access to insurance-covered abortions. Washington State is the exception: At a press conference yesterday, Representative Eileen Cody (D-34), Chair of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, announced her sponsorship of a bill that would require all health insurance policies sold in Washington that offer maternity coverage to also cover abortions.

Washington State insurers currently couple their maternity and abortion coverage. This bill, called the Reproductive Parity Act, would maintain that status quo through 2014, when every Washington resident will be required to purchase health insurance coverage in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. Washington is the only state to introduce such legislation. In stark contrast, thirteen states have passed laws banning insurance companies from covering abortion in the last year.

"The federal bill required that no federal money go towards abortion in the exchange," explained Rep. Cody. "We’re making sure there will continue to be parity between all choices for reproductive rights. There will be one plan that will not offer abortions and that will be the federal plan—all plans offer through the state of Washington will offer abortion."

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Dr. Anna Kaminski, a family care physician and medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, noted that by the age of 45, one in every three American women will have had an abortion. "Cataract surgery and tooth extraction are the only more common surgical experiences," Dr. Kaminski explained. "And yet women pay about 60 percent more than men in out of pocket expenses for healthcare... It’s not fair to have pregnancy decisions influenced by whether your plan will pay for an abortion or not."

Cody was optimistic that Washington's pro-choice legislators could get the measure passed during the 2012 session, which starts today. State Senator Steve Hobbs (D-44) is sponsoring companion legislation in the Senate. "We have a pro-choice legislature in a pro-choice state and we will be able to move this bill forward."