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Proposed Washington Bill Would Keep Private Insurance Coverage For Abortion

Proposed Washington Bill Would Keep Private Insurance Coverage For Abortion

Washington state lawmakers are considering a bill that would require private insurance plans to cover abortions, placing the state squarely against the current tide of seeking to restrict abortion access and affordability. If the measure passes it would be the first mandate of its kind and a significant victory for women’s health advocates.

The proposal would extend a 20-year-old mandate that insurance plans funded or administered by the state cover abortion if they cover maternity care. The proposal is still in draft form and is a response to uncertainty surrounding the fate of federal health care reform and as the state prepares to set up its health-insurance exchange established by the Affordable Care Act.

As it stands, federal law requires state-run health-care exchanges to include at least one insurance plan that does not cover abortion. That requirement would give Washington employers or individual buyers opposed to abortion an option for insurance coverage that is in line with those beliefs while ensuring at least some plans continue to cover abortions.

In 1991 Washington voters approved Initiative 120, guaranteeing a woman’s right to abortion and requiring health-insurance programs like Medicaid that are funded or administered by the state cover the cost of the procedure. The state also has a “conscience clause” law that allows health-insurance plans sponsored by religious organizations to refuse to pay for abortions.

But at least twelve states have passed legislation restricting or banning insurance coverage of abortions since the 2010 health insurance overhaul, so this move by Washington is some much needed good news in the reproductive rights world.


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Photo from Progress Ohio via flickr.

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1:28PM PST on Jan 11, 2012

Financially, abortions do not cost very much. The last I heard it was a few hundred dollars, so this is not really about money. What seems to be the issue is allowing people an easy out for their unbridled passions. How is it that society survived so long with chastity as its major form of birth control but with easy access to contraceptives, knowledge of women's reproductive cycle and the necessity of self-control to succeed in life, we cannot survive without abortion as a "right". What about the children? Can we not recognize their right to live?

9:58PM PST on Jan 9, 2012

Abortion is only ONE of the medical procedures that affect women. Men get everything they want from medical insurance -- Viagra for god's sake!!! Women are always short-changed because most of the decision-makers are men -- I'm SICK of this treatment!, have lived my life under men's power, and I'm now 67 and SICK of it!!!

9:54AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

I think that if you pay the premiums it should be covered... and if it's not covered it won't mean it won't happen, but you'll get more of the horrible home done abortions that used to happen and caused serious damage...

9:27AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

Why no war on Viagra? Women's major health needs are birth control and pregnancy coverage. Men get help and women get control from men in government.

6:15AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

If an insurance company accepts the premiums you pay, they should cover any health care you need. Period. They should not be allowed to hand select the procedures or conditions they will cover. Any insurance company that denies coverage for a procedure that is not wholly frivolous, like a nose job or breast implants, should be required to refund the insured person the total amount he/she has paid in premiums, plus interest.

10:36PM PST on Jan 8, 2012

I'm worried about insurance companies picking and choosing what they WIll pay for ..!

8:44PM PST on Jan 8, 2012

It is a good idea to have insurance pay for abortions. It is more expensive for insurance companies to pay for unwanted pregnancies than abortions. It would be a good idea for all states to legalize prostitution and more women will be able to buy insurance to have abortions.

8:38PM PST on Jan 8, 2012

Birth control should be covered in all states and if a women needs a abortion it should be covered..we did not fight all these years for women's rights for nothing..we deserve our rights to make our own decisions without the goverment telling us what we can and cannot do.

11:00AM PST on Jan 8, 2012


9:07AM PST on Jan 8, 2012

I made a video about why abortion should be easily available, and free for any woman that wants one. Here’s the link:

Watch it, share it, and join the fight against the evil anti-abortionists.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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