State politics are important, particularly as they pertain to reproductive policy. Here in Washington, we have the opportunity to make positive progress in the direction of reproductive rights through the Reproductive Parity Act, which would require insurance carriers in Washington to cover the costs of an abortion, if they also cover maternity care.
While almost every insurer in the state already covers abortion, this bill would guarantee continued coverage after the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in the coming years.
Despite the fact that RPA enjoys bipartisan support, there are still those in our state legislature who would restrict the legal rights of Washington women. A bill introduced last month, SB 5156 (also known as the parental notification bill), would repeal existing abortion laws in the state and require teenagers to notify their parents 48 hours before seeking an abortion.
Washington’s abortion law was adopted by public vote in 1991 as insurance against any possible reversal of federal abortion policy. SB 5156 would effectively rescind what is clearly the will of the people, sending our state backward in the fight for women’s rights and placing us in the same category of short-sightedness as states like Arizona, Oklahoma and Mississippi.
It is difficult to imagine this state, which passed both same-sex marriage and pot legalization in the same year, lumped together with conservative ones. We can’t be complacent, however. Email or call your legislators, and support RPA/oppose SB 5156.
Nikkole Hughes, Senior
Natural Resource Policy