Washington Senate group blocks abortion insurance

Associated Press

OLYMPIA — A Republican-dominated coalition in the Washington state Senate blocked discussion on a plan to require insurers to cover abortion Wednesday, voting down a procedural motion after a tense exchange about why the legislation has languished in the chamber.

Some Democrats in the Senate moved to take up an insurance bill ahead of a key cutoff, saying they planned to amend the measure to include the abortion rules. Republican Sen. Steve Litzow and Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom have both expressed support for the abortion insurance legislation, but they were both among those who voted to help narrowly defeat the effort.

In making her motion, Democratic Sen. Karen Keiser bemoaned that the majority coalition hadn’t allowed a vote on the bill, even though it appears to have enough support to pass the chamber. The abortion insurance bill has already passed the state House, and Gov. Jay Inslee has repeatedly urged the Senate to approve it.

Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler sternly responded to Keiser, saying she was “impugning” her fellow senators. He urged colleagues to vote on the procedural aspect of the motion, not on the ultimate intent of the legislation.

Afterward, Republican Sen. Don Benton accused Democrats of trying to take advantage of the absence of GOP Sen. Mike Carrell, who has been ill. He said the efforts may force Senate leaders to ask Carrell to come to the chamber, potentially jeopardizing his health.

“It’s despicable,” Benton said.

Supporters say the measure would ensure continued abortion coverage in the state once federal health care reforms taking effect next year. Opponents counter that abortion insurance coverage is already widespread in the state and that the bill is unnecessary.

The bill would make Washington the first state to require insurers that cover maternity care to also pay for abortions.

Talk to us

More in Local News

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

Craig Hess (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)
Sultan’s new police chief has 22 years in law enforcement

Craig Hess was sworn in Sep. 14. The Long Island-born cop was a first-responder on 9/11. He also served as Gold Bar police chief.

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Arlington
Man charged with dealing fentanyl pills that led to Arlington overdose

Prosecutors charged Robin Clariday with controlled substance homicide. He allegedly handed Bradley Herron the pills outside a hotel.

Lynnwood
Seattle woman identified in fatal Highway 99 crash

Elena Mroczek, 74, was killed Sunday in a crash involving a 19-year-old.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Rival gang members charged with killing Everett boy, 15, at bus stop

The two suspects are accused of premeditated first-degree murder in the death of Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Witnesses contradict gunman’s account of killing Monroe prison officer

Dylan Picard, 22, was driving on South Machias Road when Dan Spaeth approached his car to slow it down to avoid hitting a deer.

The Safe Sleep Cheat Sheet shows what's safe for infants and what should be avoided. Photo provided by the Snohomish County Health Department.
Infants’ deaths from unsafe sleeping far outpace other accidents

Nineteen infants died in two years in Snohomish County, when zero died from drownings or car crashes. Officials sounded the alarm this week.