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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

January 13, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Insurance coverage for abortions makes quick return in House

Washington state lawmakers didn’t waste any time before revisiting a bill that would require health-insurance plans to include abortion coverage.

The Reproductive Parity Act, House Bill 2148, is taking its third swing through the legislature after the Senate Health Care Committee members refused a vote in 2013.

The House Health Care and Wellness Committee spent most of its first hearing of the session discussing the bill, which has remained mostly unchanged but could face complications after the recent activation of the Affordable Care Act.

Most Washington health care plans already offer abortion coverage, but the federal health-care reform could change that.

The Affordable Care Act specifies that qualified health-insurance plans can’t be required to include abortion coverage but also says that the act can’t preempt state law.

Rep. Eileen Cody, D-West Seattle, is the chairwoman of the House committee and sponsor of the bill. She said she thinks the bill is allowed under the Affordable Care Act according to research from those those supporting the bill.

The bill would include religious and conscience exemptions, Cody said, and federal health-care plans that don’t include abortion coverage are available.

She said, “We’re just hoping to pass it through the Senate,” where the bill stalled out last year.

Comments | More in Politics Northwest | Topics: abortion, Affordable Care Act, insurance

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