OLYMPIA, February 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Legislators in the Washington state House passed a bill Monday mandating that all insurance plans that cover the costs of bringing a child to term also pay for aborting the baby.
Supporters of the “Reproductive Parity Act,” such as the local chapter of NARAL, say the measure is necessary to protect coverage for “abortion services” in the face of changes wrought by the new health insurance exchanges due for implementation in 2014 under the federal health care bill.
“Just as no one anticipates breaking their leg, no one anticipates needing an abortion. It should be covered just as any other common medical procedure,” wrote local Planned Parenthood official Dana Laurent in an email to supporters calling for support for the Senate bill.
The measure passed 52-46 and now faces a vote in the Senate, where a companion bill has already passed one committee.
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An amendment to HB 2330 states that “nothing in this act affect the right of objection based on conscience or religion” as delineated in state law. The sections cited state that no “health care provider, religiously sponsored health carrier, or health care facility” can be forced to provide, purchase, or pay for coverage for morally objectionable services.
However, Dan Kennedy of Human Life of Washington told LifeSiteNews.com that the religious exemption was “purposely vague” and the codes it refers to “ultimately provide no remedy” - and says that the move is not unlike the Obama administration’s recent mandate forcing religious employers pay for birth control.
“If you want to see what future HHS mandates may look like, look no further than Washington State. NARAL’s assertion that this bill is necessary to protect abortion ‘rights’ from Obamacare is preposterous on its face,” Kennedy told LSN.
Rather than prohibiting abortion coverage, the Obama health care bill mandates that at least one insurance plan in the exchange cover the procedure.
Kennedy said the bill was in “clear violation” of the federal Hyde amendment forbidding federal abortion funding. “[Hyde] is not merely a conscience clause exempting morally or religiously opposed abortion mandates. It forbids establishing a mandate upon any plan in the first place,” he said.