Apparently (shockingly!), Rob McKenna finally has something to say about the Reproductive Parity Act! Unfortunately, women's rights groups NARAL and Planned Parenthood, both of which helped craft the legislation, say he has his facts wrong.
Here's their joint statement, issued today:
Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington are disappointed that Rob McKenna is misleading voters by making false statements about the Reproductive Parity Act. This legislation requires all health insurance policies sold in the state that cover maternity care to provide comparable coverage for abortion care.
McKenna falsely claimed today that the Reproductive Parity Act will “put federal funding of women’s health care at risk” by addressing the Weldon Amendment. However, if he read the current legislation he would see that the Weldon Amendment was raised during the legislative session and is fully addressed in the bill as it stands. Under the Weldon Amendment, states may not "discriminate" against providers who do not offer abortion services.
The Reproductive Parity Act has been drafted specifically to protect insurance carriers in the state of Washington against discrimination and will keep our state compliant with the federal requirements of the Weldon Amendment. Every carrier currently selling in Washington covers abortion, and they have no objection to the RPA. Washington has an existing conscience clause for new providers wishing to be admitted into the state that do not want to include abortion in any of their health plans.
In fact, pro-choice leaders Jay Inslee, then a Congressman in the 1st, and Congressmen Jim McDermott (D-7) and Adam Smith (D-9) already sent this letter that you can download here to President Obama addressing the Weldon Amendment and supporting access to women’s health care coverage and the Reproductive Parity Act (HB 2330).
So: Either McKenna is commenting on legislation he hasn't read, as the ladies politely suggest, making him a terrible AG (and gubernatorial candidate), or he's read the legislation, understand its effects, and chooses to misrepresent it. Seattle PI's resident fingerwagger Joel Connelly got all up my ass today for calling Rob McKenna obscenities; I think McKenna's freshly-minted statements on the RPA pretty much reinforce his fuckwadery.
NARAL and Planned Parenthood have more to say, after the jump.
“This is a red herring,” said Elaine Taylor Rose, CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest. “McKenna is attempting to dodge the issue by directing the media’s attention to a false claim, just as he dodged the question from a young voter who asked where he stands on the Reproductive Parity Act yesterday.”
The Reproductive Parity Act passed out of the House on February 13 and but got caught up in Senate budget negotiations and stalled there.
“The Reproductive Parity Act is critical because all women need and deserve access to health insurance coverage for basic reproductive health care, including abortion services,” said Jennifer N. Brown, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington Executive Director. “Without the RPA, women in Washington risk losing access to the insurance coverage for abortion care they have today.”
A coalition in support of the Reproductive Parity Act, including Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and Legal Voice, continues to educate their members and the public about this vital legislation.