For Immediate Release:

January 31, 2018

Elections Matter: Reproductive Parity Act Passes Washington State Senate for the First Time

Olympia – As one of its first actions, the new pro-choice majority in the Washington State Senate today approved a bill that would increase access to reproductive health care, including abortion care.  For the first time in Washington, the bill would require insurance companies to cover abortion services, as well as addressing reproductive health disparities and cost barriers throughout the state.

“This landmark bill is proof that elections matter and that the new Democratic majority is already getting results. Reproductive health care should be affordable and accessible to all Washington State women, regardless of their income or zip code” said Tiffany Hankins, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. “NARAL Washington members worked hard to flip control of the state senate and elect pro-choice legislators like Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-45). This legislation is the kind of health care policy that results when pro-choice voters get out the vote, and NARAL members look forward to seeing this historic bill across the finish line. We look forward to working together to expand access to all communities.”

“Today we made a statement that a woman should have complete control of her reproductive destiny,” said Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island. “These rights are constantly under attack, especially at this moment in our nation’s history. Washingtonians have long considered themselves leaders when it comes to granting access to women’s healthcare, and the state Senate is continuing that tradition.”

The Reproductive Parity Act, SB 6219, ensures that Washingtonians are able to meet their basic wellness needs and access to reproductive health care through their insurance plan in three ways:

Improving Contraceptive Access – Many people need birth control – but they don’t all need the same birth control or for the same reasons. Insurance plans should cover all options for contraceptives. This legislation improves access to insurance coverage of FDA-approved birth control methods without cost-sharing, delay, or denial of coverage.

Guaranteeing Reproductive Parity –  A right isn’t a right unless there is access – the cost of an abortion is a barrier to many who need access to abortion care. This legislation would require insurance companies to serve their enrollees who can become pregnant by requiring that all insurance companies cover abortion care if they cover maternity care.

Studying Reproductive Health Disparities – This bill would require a review of data on disparities that exist in outcomes in reproductive, sexual, and maternal health care for people of marginalized communities. This step will help policymakers better prioritize the urgent work to address these disparities.

 

The Reproductive Health Parity Act next move to the Washington House of Representatives. The 2018 Legislative Session concludes on March 8.

 

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