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Health plans with abortion coverage? Don't count on it

The bill to require health plans that cover maternity care to also cover abortions is stranded in a Senate committee.
Sen. Randi Becker (upper left)

Sen. Randi Becker (upper left) John Stang

The state's proposed Reproductive Parity Act, like the DREAM Act, looks like it's on the road to nowhere - again.

House Democrats have revived and slightly tweaked the 2013 bill, sending it to a Monday public hearing before the House Health Care Committee. Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina and leader of the 24-Republican-two-Democrat Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, said Health Committee chair Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, gets to decide whether the bill gets a hearing in the Senate and passes out of the health committee.

The House passed the bill last year, 53-43, mostly along party lines, only to see it whither and die in Becker's committee. The Senate majority coalition stood by and watched, despite the supposed support of some moderate Republicans and Rodney Tom. Again, just like with the DREAM Act, Coalition moderates were averse to bucking caucus conservatives on controversial legislation.

When asked on Monday about whether the same don't-make-waves pattern would be avoided this session on this bill, he hedged.

A packed hearing chamber was divided roughly in half on Reproductive Parity, which would require health plans that cover maternity care to also cover abortions. Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of the Seattle Diocese contended that the bill discriminated against people who oppose abortion, who should not be forced to participate in an insurance plan that conflicts with their pro-life beliefs.

Supporters argued in favor of a woman's right to have abortion insurance regardless of her carrier. Pregnancies, after all, are often unexpected, and women should not have to worry about whether her insurance covers abortions as she sorts out what she wants to do. "A woman needs options based on her circumstances not her insurance coverage,"said Dr. Annie Iriye, who spoke on behalf of the Washington chapter of the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynocologists.

Perhaps, the strongest testimony came from Angela Connelly, president of the Washington Women's Network. "This bill is not about access to abortion," said Connelly. "This is a bullying bill. It's not about choice. It's about taking away choice."
 

John Stang covers state government for Crosscut. He can be reached by writing editor@crosscut.com.


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Comments:

Posted Tue, Jan 14, 5:05 a.m. Inappropriate

Reproductive parity. To a longtime pro-choice person it sounds righteous until my brain kicks in. Parity means equal. Reproductive parity means a decision to kill or to give life full expression is equally valued and equally valuable to the community. And since death is as valuable as life, we must all subsidize her decision to kill if we want to support her decision to bring new life into the world. Death is as valued as life? What does that say about us as a people? Or as a species?

Posted Tue, Jan 14, 8:06 a.m. Inappropriate

When you don't have a defensible position, bring out the bully word, or the racist word or other pejorative of your choice.

I want choice. Free choice. If you want this coverage, buy a plan that includes it!!! Don't make me pay for it, when, lacking divine intervention, it is not a procedure I would have.

Simple. No war on anyone save for those who would have to pay for other's chocies.

Bullying is just bad, sometimes really bad behavior. Expressing honestly held beliefs and opinions, and exercising MY choice while not restricting yours (hey, reach in your pocket and pay for it) is not bullying

Geezer

Posted Tue, Jan 14, 8:52 a.m. Inappropriate

Shocking since Becker is one of the twelve Republocrats in the MCC. She voted to keep Hobbs on as chair of the Financial Institutions Committee. There are only 12 Republicans in the Washington State Senate and there are 12 Republocrats. The vote in their caucus proved that yesterday.

Posted Tue, Jan 14, 9:53 a.m. Inappropriate

Free choice and legal abortions are important.

But health plans should not be legislatively required to pay for abortions. Abortions are wasteful and should only be contemplated as the last resort to choose - and do not make me pay for your abortion.

If you 'flunked health 101' and got pregnant, I have sympathy for you. But as an adult who knows many women who have had -- many, yes many -- abortions, I believe far too many people are using abortions as the cure for the sheer laziness of not using birth control.

By your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or even more abortions, you disrespect the miracle of life in ways that to me are unimaginable. Don't make me pay for your irresponsibility.

Posted Tue, Jan 14, 10:17 a.m. Inappropriate

There are two issues popping up here. 1. Should my insurance policy pay for your abortions (i.e. those who don't believe in abortions don't want to be paying for others' abortions). 2. Should my hospital or clinic deny me the right to an abortion (well, I'm male, so let's hypothetically say my wife).

If you look at this as two issues, it seems like a solution is approachable. Require all publicly subsidized facilities to provide abortions to those who need or desire one. Allow people to choose a plan that does or does not include abortions. If you choose one that does not, you still would have the option of having an abortion; you simply would have to pay for it.

pragmatic

Posted Tue, Jan 14, 11:20 a.m. Inappropriate

"This is a bullying bill. It's not about choice. It's about taking away choice." says Ms. Connelly (" the strongest voice" according to the author). No she simply abuses our intelligence and our very language. Likewise, "Reproductive Parity", "reproductive health", all in the evasive lexicon of the abortion movement. They don't want to say "abortion". They want to make (substitute your favorite euphemism) sound like the "healthy choice".

kieth

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