Washington State Looks to Force Abortion Coverage

It's a twist on the usual debate, observes the 'New York Times'

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 2, 2013 11:39 AM CDT

(Newser) – Washington state is in the midst of an abortion debate—but this one is swimming against the current. While at least 17 states have passed legislation that clamps down on abortion coverage in the wake of ObamaCare, Washington is debating a bill that would force health insurance firms to cover elective abortions, the New York Times reports. The bill has already passed the state House, 53 to 43, and a state senator said yesterday it's poised to get a majority vote in that chamber, too.

Still, the bill is rife with controversy. Though it has an exemption for religious organizations, some say its wording renders the section ineffective and could invite lawsuits. It's "a bullying bill," says one opponent, who argues the bill would force people to participate in a system they want no part of. "We cannot insist on one agenda oppressing another." But advocates say ObamaCare's own rules could "complicate" abortion access, and the bill is needed to ensure women continue to have coverage for the procedure. "Today every carrier and nearly every plan in Washington already covers abortion,” says a Planned Parenthood rep. "The Reproductive Parity Act will keep it that way."

The Washington state Capitol dome is seen through cherry blossom trees that have started to bloom, on Monday, March 25, 2013, in Olympia, Wash.
The Washington state Capitol dome is seen through cherry blossom trees that have started to bloom, on Monday, March 25, 2013, in Olympia, Wash.   (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
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