Ben Johnson

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Washington state House passes bill forcing insurance companies that cover maternity to fund abortion

Ben Johnson
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OLYMPIA, WA, February 5, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Legislators in the state of Washington have passed a bill stating that health insurance plans that pay for maternity care so a mother can nurture her unborn child must also cover abortion if she wishes to end the baby's life.

The state House passed House Bill 2148, dubbed the “Reproductive Parity Act,” by a vote of 54-44. Two Democrats voted against the bill, while one Republican, Chad Magendanz of Issaquah, voted yea.

Dan Kennedy, CEO of Human Life of Washington, anticipated the setback on Tuesday but remained confident the bill would be turned back.

“We stopped it last year,” Kennedy said in an e-mail sent to LifeSiteNews. “We will again.”

He led a delegation of citizens to the capitol, wearing white ribbons to symbolize religious liberty.

The bill passed the state House last year by a similar margin, 53-43. However, the abortion mandate died in the state Senate last spring when Senate Health Care Committee Chair Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, declined to bring the measure up for a vote.

If it had been voted on, it almost certainly would have become law. Twenty-five of the chamber's 49 senators had signed a letter supporting the bill, and Democratic Governor Jay Inslee had promised to sign it into law.

During last year's debate, Americans United for Life President and CEO Charmaine Yoest agreed. “Clearly, Big Abortion’s agenda has effectively moved from ‘choice’ to coercion as they focus their legislative efforts on forcing Americans – including those in the health insurance industry – to acquiesce to their radical agenda or face severe consequences.”

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Observers, including its sponsor, expect the bill will make no progress this year either.

“I can only expect that the RPA will suffer the same fate as it did last year,” said its sponsor, Eileen Cody, a Democrat, following its passage.

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