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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Washington to Force Abortion Insurance?



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Washington State may require all insurance policies to cover abortion. From the AP story:

The Reproductive Parity Act, as supporters call it, would require insurers in Washington state who cover maternity care — which all insurers must do — to also pay for abortions. The bill passed the state House earlier this month by a vote of 53-43, though it faces an uncertain future in the Senate. A similar bill in the New York state Assembly has been introduced each session for over a decade but has never received a public hearing. “This is a core value for Washingtonians,” said Melanie Smith, a lobbyist for NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. “We should protect it while we still have it and not leave access to basic health care up to an insurance company.”

Non therapeutic abortion isn’t basic “health care,” for as I pointed out here, it is a “consumerist” rather than a “medical,” procedure.

That point aside, passage of the law will force business owners who are religiously and morally opposed to abortion into a hard position–one that could deleteriously impact their employees: Cover abortion against their beliefs or drop coverage and pay the Obamacare fines. That will then force religiously or morally opposed individuals into the same dilemma. Some employers would even leave the state.

Alas, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act–which so far seems to be protecting most business owners religiously opposed to contraception–does not provide a safe harbor for state laws. Thus, business owners and insurance purchasers would have to litigate against the law based on the First Amendment. Alas again, precedent would not be on their side because the law would be of general application and not aimed at religious expression. 



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