Roughly 25 women in pink shirts are sitting in the peanut gallery in Olympia right now, giving state Senators Rodney Tom and Steve Litzow the hairy stink eye. Planned Parenthood advocates are in Olympia today to shame/cajole/beg legislators to bring the Reproductive Parity Act (HB 1044) to the Senate floor for a vote.
But despite their earlier promises to support the legislation, Senators Tom and Litzow now seem intent on blocking the RPA at all costs.
Twenty five Senators previously pledged to support the RPA (HB 1044), including both Tom and Litzow. As Anna previously explained, even though the cutoff date passed for passing the bill out of the senate's healthcare committee two weeks ago, it can still be pulled to the floor via a "ninth order" maneuver as long as majority leader Tom and the other 24 senators who've claimed support for the bill show a little follow through.
Last night, 23 of those senators stood by their word and voted to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. Tom and Litzow voted against the bill. Today, senators brought up the bill again—this time via an insurance bill—and once again Tom and Litzow went back on their word and voted no.
The legislation would mandate that insurance carriers that cover maternity care to also cover abortion care on their plans, which is critical to maintaining abortion access for women. You see, while the passage of the Affordable Care Act ensures that more than 300,000 Washington women are gaining insurance coverage, the ACA also includes incentives for insurance carriers to drop abortion coverage. Passing the RPA would ensure that doesn’t happen in Washington.
But let's face it: Lobbying the legislators who've already proven their contempt for women's rights—except on the most superficial, lip service levels—is the bleakest of Hail Marys. Tom has had many chances to ensure the RPA passed and he pissed away every one.