The Washington state Senate passed a bill Saturday mandating that insurance companies pay for abortions and contraceptive drugs and procedures for maternity care plans.
The state legislature passed Senate Bill 6219 in a 27 to 22 vote Saturday, according to KIRO7. The measure insists that any company who provides maternity care must also provide coverage for women who seek to abort. It also requires insurance companies to cover all contraceptive methods including drugs, implants, consultations and sterilization procedures. The bill does not allow exceptions for religious or moral objections.
“It’s vital that women have access to whatever contraceptive drugs, devices, products and services we need to manage our reproductive needs and overall health,” state Sen. Annette Cleveland, said in support of the bill, according to the Peninsula Daily News. “This legislation has been a long time in coming and will make a big difference in many women’s lives.”
Others aren’t enthused about the bill’s passing, however, and argue it violates the rights of religious groups and organizations that morally object to abortion. “It would require contraception and abortion coverage while violating the constitutionally protected conscious rights of individuals, churches, businesses and others,” Archbishop of Seattle Peter Sartain said, according to the Peninsula Daily News. “Maintaining the state’s commitment to religious freedom is vital.”
Federal law prohibits taxpayer dollars from funding abortions except in cases of rape or where a woman’s life is in danger. Medicaid plans do not cover most abortions in Washington.
The bill will now head to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk to be signed into law.
California lawmakers are also debating whether to adopt a bill that would require the state’s public universities and colleges to offer abortion drugs at their health centers. Senate Bill 320, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Connie Leyva, will mandate the state’s community colleges and public universities provide women with abortion pills for up to 10 weeks of pregnancy, so they don’t face a burden by traveling to obtain an abortion.