In Olympia on Wednesday the push continued for contraceptive and abortion coverage from all employers who offer health benefits. A House committee heard public testimony on senate Bill 6219 which passed the full senate on Jan. 31.
Sen. Steve Hobbs is one of the bill’s sponsors and he told the committee the opposition to it is overblown.
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“What it doesn't do is cause women to all of a sudden have abortions all over the place,” Hobbs said.
SB 6219 would force all employers who offer health care to cover abortions, and offer contraceptives without a co-pay or deductible.
Several doctors testified saying the bill is critical for women's health, especially with the Trump Administration's push to restrict abortion coverage and end Obamacare, or ACA.
“I am concerned with the threats to the ACA we will lose that parody,” said Rev. Dr. Linda Hart.
On the other side business owners spoke out against what they called an abortion mandate. Katie Janicki of Janicki Industries in the Skagit Valley testified.
“Bill 6219 takes away our choice as a business,” Janicki said. “And my choice as a woman business owner.”
She said if this bill passes Janicki Industries will look at taking future investments to other states. She says employees and prospective employees know the family health care they offer.
“If they don't like our coverage they are free to work somewhere else,” Janicki said. “This bill is really about forcing business owners who are opposed to abortion to fund abortions.”
Hobbs argued it's about letting women decide with the help of health care coverage.
“It will still make abortion a very hard and difficult decision for women,” Hobbs said.
The next step is a House committee vote which hasn't been scheduled.
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