OLYMPIA -- With a one-vote margin, the House Health Care and Wellness Committee passed a bill that would require most insurance companies to cover abortion if they cover maternity services.
HB 2148, often called the Reproductive Parity Act was denounced by opponents like Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy, as limiting the choice of people who are morally opposed to abortion and don't want insurance plans that cover it for others.
But supporters like Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, said the decision on whether to have an abortion should be made by a woman and the people she chooses to consult -- her doctor, family or faith community: "It is not for a business to decide, it is not for an insurance company to decide, it is not for someone else's faith community to decide."
Committee Chairwoman Eileen Cody, D-West Seattle, the sponsor of the bill, said for years she's had men ask her why they should pay for insurance plans with maternity services that they'll never use. But, she added "we're not going to change anyone's mind either way on this."
On a 9-8 vote, the bill was sent to the full House, which passed similar legislation last year. That bill stalled in the Senate when a Republican committee chairwoman refused to put it to a vote after a hearing and Democratic efforts to force it onto the floor through parliamentary maneuvers failed.
Among Spokane-area legislators on the Health Care Committee, Short and Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, voted no and Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, voted yes.