Fifteen states have passed laws restricting insurers from covering abortions and 12 others are considering similar measures. By contrast, a bill that has passed Washington's House and is working its way through the Senate would make the state the first to require all health insurance plans under its jurisdiction — except those claiming a conscience-based exemption — to include abortion coverage.
The measure, HB 2330, would do so by requiring insurers who cover maternity care, which Washington insurers are mandated to provide, to also pay for abortions. New York is the only other state considering similar rules, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks women's health-related legislation.
Opponents say expanded coverage would lead to more abortions and higher health care costs for all — claims muddied by the already wide availability of abortion in the state and the fact that abortions cost insurers less than do live births. They also say the measure would violate federal rules barring discrimination against insurers who don't offer abortion coverage for moral reasons, putting at risk $6 billion in federal money.