February 19, 2013 — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) on Monday urged the state Senate to vote on a measure (HB 1044) that would require most insurers to cover abortion, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Kaminsky, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/18).
The Reproductive Parity Act aims to maintain existing abortion coverage levels after new health insurance rules are implemented under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) in 2014 (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/1).
The AP/Journal-Constitution reports that the measure is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled House. However, it then has to pass the Senate Health Care Committee and the Republican-controlled Senate Rules Committee before it can reach the Senate floor for a vote. Although the Senate is dominated by conservatives, abortion-rights advocates believe there is enough support for the bill to pass if it reaches the Senate floor.
In his comments, Inslee said the measure does not deserve "just a hearing," but a "vote in the state Senate." He added, "We are going to insist that we are not going to let anybody close the door to democracy in this state."
Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom (D), who supports the measure, said he does not plan to circumvent the Senate Rules Committee to have the bill reach the floor. "We'll see what coalesces and what doesn't coalesce," he said, adding, "I don't think we're going to need to circumvent any committees" (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/18).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.