NARAL Pro-Choice Washington 2020 Legislative Priorities
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington is an organization that is at the start of our anti-racism and equity work. With this in mind, we are approaching our work with a developing equity lens. We make the following commitments as we deepen our analysis and actions for equity and collaboration:
- We center voices of those most impacted by prioritizing conversations with impacted communicates, and respective organizational partners, before making decisions or declarative statements about policy priorities and approaches.
- We recognize that data is not neutral, and we will prioritize analysis and data that includes a racial, gender, socioeconomic, ability, and geographic equity lens.
- We have historically been a white and cis-gender lead organization, and know many of NARAL’s staff and board are still at the intersection of these identities. As we continue to bring more Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQIA, and rural voices into our respective organizations, we recognize the following:
- We wield privilege that can be an asset for allyship when we follow the lead of those most impacted. However, this privilege can also present barriers to recognition, understanding, and trust, and we will continue to learn.
- We commit to assessing impact, making amends when we own our mistakes, and finding a resolution for rebuilding and deepening trust with BIPOC, LGBTQIA, and other marginalized communities.
Comprehensive Mandatory Sexual Health Education (SB 5395, HB 1407, HB 2184)
This bill would make sex education that is comprehensive and medically accurate mandatory in all Washington public schools. Specifically, this legislation would require that the curriculum includes representation of all gender identities and sexual orientations, and teaches components on affirmative consent and healthy relationships. School districts will be required to report on the sex education they are providing. Nationwide, disparities in STI rates, unintended pregnancy, and sexual assault continue to persist along racial, ethnic, class and gender lines. All youth in Washington deserve access to the information and resources to live healthy and safe lives, regardless of what school district they live in.
Protecting Patient Care Act (SB 5542, HB 2561)
This bill would protect the ability of willing health care providers at religiously-based health systems to provide medically accurate, comprehensive information to patients. This bill would ensure that healthcare entities may not restrict providers in the provision of medically accurate and comprehensive information regarding the patient’s health status, information about available services and where and how to obtain them, provision of information related to Washington’s Death with Dignity Act, and provision of necessary health services in life-threatening instances. Restrictions from religious health systems on reproductive health care disproportionately impact women, BIPOC communities, LGBTQIA folks, rural patients, low-income individuals and individuals who lack transportation access.
Health Equity Assessment Fee for Insurance Carriers (SB 6400, HB 2554)
This bill would create an assessment fee for health insurance carriers who do not cover the full range of state-required health services. The fee should contribute to a state fund to provide subscribers with coverage for the excluded services. In 2020, Providence is offering an insurance plan on the individual market that does not include abortion coverage. Timely and affordable access to abortion determines an individual’s ability to get care. A lack of coverage for abortion cares disproportionately impacts BIPOC and low-income individuals who cannot afford to pay out of pocket for services.
Establish a State Office of Equity (HB 1783, SB 5776)
This new Office of Equity would identify and coordinate effective strategies that focus on eliminating systemic barriers for certain racial and ethnic groups, including women of color. This office would assist government agencies to consider race, ethnicity, gender, and equitable impacts in all aspects of their decision making, including services, programming, policy development, budgeting, and staffing.
Apple Health to 26 (HB 1697, SB 5814)
This bill would expand healthcare up to age 26 for undocumented individuals who currently age out when they turn 19 and are left with no affordable option for medical coverage.
Affordable Childcare (SB 6253, HB 2661)
This bill would expand access to and affordable childcare and strengthen the resources and compensation for childcare providers.
Extending Postpartum Coverage (SB 6128, HB 2381)
This bill would extend Medicaid coverage from sixty days postpartum to twelve months postpartum for individuals 198% below the federal poverty line and low-income undocumented individuals. Currently, postpartum Medicaid coverage ends sixty days after pregnancy, creating an unsafe gap in care. Gaps in care, particularly during the postpartum period, contribute to pregnancy-related deaths. Maternal mortality data reveal significant racial and ethnic disparities. In Washington, American Indian and Alaska Native women are six to seven times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.
Washington has the most unbalanced, broken tax system in the country in which low-income households are taxed at the highest rate of all Washingtonians. Not only is Washington’s upside-down tax code deeply unfair, but it directly impacts our ability to invest in our shared priorities, like healthcare. We support closing the tax break on Capital Gains and wasteful tax loopholes. In order to meet the needs of all Washingtonians, the state must create a more equitable tax code and ensure new progressive, sustainable revenue.
Support the Universal Health Care Work Group
The Universal Health Care Work Group was established in the 2019 legislation session to develop substantial recommendations to the Legislature by 11/2020. Universal Healthcare would reduce disparities in access to healthcare, including reproductive healthcare, and ensure all Washingtonians can afford the care they need.