Women supporting Democrat Jay Inslee for governor, including his wife Trudi Inslee, held a news conference in Seattle on Tuesday to denounce Republican opponent Rob McKenna as pro-choice in name only.
“When you’re running for office, it’s not enough to say you’re pro-choice,” said Jennifer Brown, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. “You have to act pro-choice.”
Brown and the others cited the fact that McKenna joined other attorneys general to sue to overturn President Obama’s health-care law, which expands women’s access to contraceptives and breast cancer screenings. They also noted his opposition to the Reproductive Parity Act last session. The bill, which would have required many insurers to cover abortions, died in the Legislature after concerns it could jeopardize the state’s access to federal funds.
The speakers also latched onto McKenna’s tendency to frame his support for women’s abortion rights as resulting from the fact that it’s the law.
“What would he do if some other legislation comes to his desk?” said Trudi Inslee, a former NARAL board member. “That’s what we’re concerned about.”
Charles McCray, a McKenna spokesman, said McKenna’s pro-choice positions speak for themselves.
“This is a tactic that we’ve seen Congressman Inslee and his partisan allies use consistently,” McCray said. “It’s an attempt to divide the electorate into target audiences that are conveniently exploited.”
Polls have consistently shown Inslee leading McKenna among female voters. The latest poll, conducted over the weekend by Strategies 360, showed a tied race overall but Inslee winning women 52-42 percent.
Democrats say the Reproductive Parity Act will come up again next year.
Tuesday’s event marked Trudi Inslee’s first time leading a campaign event this year.