Last Friday, the
Washington State House passed HB
every insurance policy to cover abortion. The bill
companies, churches, or individuals to
purchase an insurance plan that covers abortion or decline
maternity coverage. This is the first paragraph of the
Except as provided in
subsection (5) of this section, if a
health plan issued or
renewed on or after January 1, 2014, provides coverage for
maternity care or services, the health plan must also
provide a covered person with substantially equivalent coverage to
permit the voluntary termination of a
It passed largely on
party lines with Democrats Rep. Chris Hurst and Rep. Roger Freeman
voting with the Republicans to oppose the bill and Republican Chris
Mangendanz joining the Democrats in support.
The fact that the bill
passed was not much of a surprise. It is the top priority of the
abortion industry in Washington, and the state House is really far
left. Even Democrats from more conservative districts whose
constituents are not far left generally do a good job obeying House
Speaker Frank Chopp, who controls the agenda in the
The bill now moves to
the Senate for consideration.
The purpose of the bill
is questionable. Every insurer in Washington currently offers
abortion coverage but consumers decide for themselves if they want
it. Seems kind of pro-choice, doesn’t it? But now pro-abortion
advocates have moved beyond working to give women the right to have
an abortion to trying to relieve a woman wanting an abortion of the
need to pay for it.
From their perspective,
the fact that you have a right means that no financial obstacle
should ever prevent you from exercising that right. In that spirit,
I sent Planned Parenthood the bill for my new shotgun.
But the point today is
not to point out how bad the policy is, but to point out deception
by our elected officials. Two amendments that were placed on HB
1044 are perhaps the best example I have seen recently of
premeditated intent to deceive their constituents. Let me
The opposition to the
bill is concern over religious liberty. Lots of people don’t want
to be forced to subsidize a procedure thatends a human life. Even
many people not opposed to abortion would object to forcing someone
who does oppose abortion to pay for one. It just isn’t
The original bill
attempted to be concerned with religious liberty and rights of
conscience with the following language:
Nothing in this section
affects the right of objection based on conscience or religion as
set out in RCW 48.43.065 or 70.47.160.
Those concerned about
religious liberty were not comforted by this language because the
State of Washington, in the case of Stormans v. Selecky,
has argued for years that, despite those alleged protections, it
still has the right to force a pharmacist to sell abortion inducing
In an effort to
strengthen our state’s conscience protections, Rep. Jay Rodne, from
the Issaquah area, proposed an amendment that would have clarified
that religious freedom means you can’t be forced to subsidize
Rep. Eilene Cody from
West Seattle, who supports the bill and has been a long-time
advocate for the abortion industry, made a speech about valuing
conscience rights and encouraged everyone to adopt the amendment.
As a result, the amendment passed almost unanimously. For a moment,
they almost seemed reasonable.
Then, immediately after
adoption of the amendment, Rep. Cody proposed another amendment
that effectively repealed the amendment that had just been adopted
and restored the impotent conscience protections that are currently
in law. That amendment was adopted along party lines.
For the politically
uninitiated this seems curious. Why would they vote for an
amendment protecting religious liberty and then pass another
amendment repealing it immediately after?
The answer, as is often
the case in Olympia, is politics.
With this little
maneuver, they gave themselves cover. Here’s how.
During their next
election, it’s quite possible that some freedom-loving constituent
is going to ask their representative why they voted for a bill that
harms freedom of conscience and requires everyone to pay for
abortion coverage even if they don’t want it. He’ll smile calmly,
thank you for sharing your thoughts, and assure you that they are
just as concerned with religious liberty as you are. Then he’ll
tell you about the amendment sponsored by Rep. Rodne, designed to
protect conscience rights. And he’ll tell you how proud he was to
vote for it.
It’s possible that
he’ll have a copy of the amendment with him, just in case you want
He’ll probably tell you
how much he enjoys getting input from different perspectives,
because only by working together can we really make policy that
works for everyone.
At this point you’ll be
confused. You trusted the people who told you that they were taking
away conscience rights…but he had the amendment in his hands? Maybe
religious liberty wasn’t really being harmed after all.
Of course he’ll forget
to mention that only seconds after voting to support the amendment
he’s bragging about, he voted to repeal it. But you don’t know
that. And because you don’t know that, he’s now the guy who not
only values religious liberty, but he’s the guy who listens to his
constituents and compromises with legislators from varying
perspectives to make the best policy for you.
The only problem
is…it’s not true.
By adopting the first
amendment, they have something they can use in campaign mailers and
constituent correspondents to show how much they respect religious
liberty. By adopting the second amendment, they make sure they keep
the special interest group that funds their campaigns happy. The
policy is bad, but at least they look good.
Maneuvers like this are
why people have lost faith in their government. Legislators spend
their time planning how to use their superior knowledge to deceive
the people they allegedly serve.
Be that as it may,
these are the politics of religious liberty in