By Jerry Cornfield
Leaders of the state Senate Majority Coalition may want to keep the controversial issue of abortion off the agenda this session but most of their members apparently disagree.
A bill introduced today would bar doctors from performing an abortion unless the woman’s parents or legal guardians are notified beforehand. Fourteen of the coalition’s 25 members signed on as sponsors.
Under Senate Bill 5156, “A person must not perform an abortion upon a pregnant woman unless that person has given at least forty-eight hours actual notice to one parent or the legal guardian of the pregnant woman of his or her intention to perform the abortion. The notice may be given by a referring physician.”
Notice can be made in person, by telephone or certified mail, according to the language of the proposed bill.
Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, and Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch co-sponsored the bill. Companion legislation was introduced in the House today.
Filing of the bills comes one day before the nation marks the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion known as Roe v. Wade.
At noon Tuesday, opponents of abortion will hold their annual March for Life rally on the steps of the Capitol. This is the 35th year for the rally.
Also Tuesday, leaders of Human Life of Washington are reportedly going to release results of a poll showing support in Washington for parental notification legislation.
“Parental involvement laws are based on a sound policy judgment: in areas of life, young people need the guidance of their parents in making important decisions; that includes decisions regarding abortion,” states a press release from the organization.
As this debate begins, supporters of legalized abortion are pushing for passage of the Reproductive Parity Act to ensure health plans which cover maternity services also provide coverage of abortions. Gov. Jay Inslee has said he will sign it should it reach his desk.