Friday, April 5, 2013


Today nearly every insurance plan in Washington covers both maternity services and abortion services. However, the Affordable Care Act could inadvertently limit these reproductive choices by requiring additional administrative red-tape for abortion services. 

This change would interfere with a woman’s ability to make the best decisions for her family and her health.

Enter the Reproductive Parity Act (RPA) sponsored by House Health Care and Wellness Committee Chair Rep. Eileen Cody and 40 other co-sponsors. It would require insurance companies to continue their current policy of covering a full range of reproductive choice. The bill ensures fairness and protects freedom in a woman’s health care decisions. 

It passed the House back in February, and received a hearing in the Senate Health Care Committee on April 1st. At that hearing, Senator Steve Hobbs presented a letter signed by 25 senators who support the RPA – the majority needed to pass.

However, it appears the bill won’t be heading to Governor Inslee’s desk this year. The bill did not come up for a vote in committee ahead of Wednesday’s policy cutoff deadline.

Washington voters have a long history of supporting reproductive rights that stretches back over 40 years. Two years before Roe v. Wade, Washingtonians approved Referendum 20, which legalized abortion in the early stages of pregnancy.

Then again in 1991, when it looked like Roe could be overturned, voters approved Initiative 120, which protected a women’s right to make a private choice with her doctor regardless of what occurred at the federal level.

The Seattle Times, editorializing in favor of the RPA, summed it up perfectly:

A woman’s decision to become a mother shouldn’t be determined by a lack of resources or insurance. 

It’s a deeply personal choice between a patient and her doctor. Washington state has a history of respecting that right and should continue to protect it.

Refusing to let the RPA come up for a vote in the Senate is a defeat for women and privacy in Washington. This decision doesn’t reflect our state’s values.

You can find more information on the RPA here. You can also read some of the national attention the RPA and House Democrats have received over at the New York Times, Salon and Jezebel.

Read this story in Spanish.