Democratic state lawmakers are renewing a push that fell short a year ago that would require Washington insurers to pay for abortions, in addition to the maternity care they’re already mandated to provide.
They are championing House Bill 1044, the Reproductive Parity Act, which is meant to ensure that existing abortion coverage be preserved when new health insurance rules take effect in 2014 under national health care reform.
“What we’re doing is ensuring that women in Washington state can continue to enjoy the full range of reproductive rights, so they can have the freedom of choice to make decisions with their families and their doctors,” said Rep. Eileen Cody, D-West Seattle, the bill’s sponsor.
Opponents said the measure is a waste of time because all insurers in the state already cover abortion.
“The bill is completely unnecessary,” said Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver. “It was only introduced for political fodder.”
The bill will receive a public hearing today in the Health Care and Wellness Committee of the Democratic-controlled House, which passed a similar measure a year ago.