WASHINGTON, D.C. (04-01-13) --
Americans United for Life Staff Counsel Mary Harned will present written testimony before the Washington Senate Health Care Committee today in opposition to the Reproductive Parity Act, legislation that would force health insurance companies to offer coverage for elective abortions and will threaten freedom of conscience in the state.
AUL President and CEO Charmaine Yoest observed, "The Reproductive Parity Act is the abortion industry's latest attack on First Amendment Freedom of Conscience rights. 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."
The Reproductive Parity Act, House Bill 1044, would create an unprecedented requirement in the State of Washington that all health plans that provide "coverage for maternity care or services must also provide a covered person with substantially equivalent coverage to permit the voluntary termination of a pregnancy." While the bill's proponents claim to protect freedom of conscience, the bill in fact fails to provide adequate conscience protections, particularly for insurance carriers.
"Washington state efforts to force abortion coverage on private businesses is in marked contrast to the current trends across the country," observed Dr. Yoest.
Currently, 21 states have restrictions on private insurance coverage of abortion in either all health insurance plans within their state or in the plans that will participate in their new state exchanges required by Obamacare. But the Washington bill is far more coercive than state statutes requiring taxpayer funding for abortion. HB1044 actually targets private health plans and forces nearly all healthcare payers in the state of Washington to pay for abortion-on-demand not only through tax-dollars, but through their insurance premiums.
First Amendment Conscience rights are also under attack in the bill. A health carrier that objects to paying for abortions because it would violate conscience or religious beliefs must still aid someone in obtaining an abortion. Only "religiously sponsored" health carriers are exempted.