On April 1, the Health Care Committee of the Washington State Senate held a two-hour hearing on what its proponents euphemistically call the “Reproductive Parity Act,” and its opponents describe as the “abortion insurance mandate.” If passed, EHB 1044 would require that if any health insurance plan provided coverage for maternity care, it “must also provide a covered person with substantially equivalent coverage to permit the voluntary termination of a pregnancy.”
The bill has already passed the Washington House of Representatives, 53-43, but in the Senate it may be a different matter. At the hearing one of the bill’s proponents claimed to have a written commitment from twenty-five senators (a bare majority) to vote for the bill, but from the comments of at least one committee member it appeared that the bill might have trouble making it out of committee. (There is a procedure for a bill to be brought to the floor even if it has died in committee, but such cases are rare.)
In his inaugural address (“The World Will Not Wait”), Jay Inslee, the state’s newly elected Democratic governor, surprised many by featuring the bill as one of his priorities.