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

January 15, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Washington state ranks high on abortion rights, both sides agree

Two reports released this week show that both sides of the fierce abortion debate agree on at least one thing: Washington state ranks at the top of the country in abortion rights.

NARAL Pro-Choice America placed Washington second on its annual Report Card on Women’s Reproductive Rights, just behind California. The group cited state laws requiring pharmacies to dispense women’s birth control and providing access to abortion for low-income women.

Americans United for Life, meanwhile, put Washington dead last on its annual Life List, just ahead of California. The group said the state was “failing to protect women from an unmonitored and under-regulated abortion industry.”

The ranking is not a surprise: Washington has been last on the Life List for five years in a row.

The reports come ahead of the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade this month. The 1973 Supreme Court decision created a constitutional right to abortions in some circumstances and prevented states from banning the practice.

It also comes as the Washington State Legislature begins yet another debate over abortion issues.

On Monday, the state House Health Care and Wellness Committee held a hearing on the Reproductive Parity Act, House Bill 2148, which would require health-insurance plans to include abortion coverage.

The bill is making its third swing through the Legislature.

Democrats, who control the House and governor’s office, have made it a top priority. But Republicans, who run the Senate, have said it will not get a vote in that chamber.

Comments | More in State Legislature | Topics: abortion, abortion rights, Americans United for Life


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