Washington Bill Aims To Cover Abortion, Birth Control For Undocumented Residents

Autumn Lindsey told lawmakers she opposes efforts to expand abortion services.

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Immigrants without legal status are not eligible for government healthcare plans, like Medicaid.

More than a dozen Washington lawmakers want to create a program to cover some of these immigrants’ reproductive healthcare needs, including abortion, birth control and family planning.

A senate committee in Olympia heard testimony Monday on the proposed measure.

University of Washington student Liliana Rasmussen spoke in support of the bill, saying healthcare is a human right.

“None of us should have to make the financial decision between buying books and paying for tuition and rent, and paying basic healthcare,” Rasmussen said. “None of us should be able to determine who is qualified to receive care.”

Dozens of people showed up to testify at the hearing, including several young women wearing t-shirts that said “I am the pro-life generation.”

Among them was Autumn Lindsey, who spoke out against the measure.

“I oppose this bill because I believe in protecting the lives of the pre-born. To  say this bill helps women is a lie,” Lindsey said.

Bill sponsors say the aim is to provide reproductive healthcare to all state residents, regardless of someone’s citizenship status or gender. The bill would also extend reproductive health coverage to transgender individuals.

The Oregon legislature passed a similar measure last year.

Hundreds of abortion rights opponents gathered in the rain at the Washington State Capitol Monday to protest the various reproductive health service bills. Including one bill that would require health insurers who cover maternity care to also cover abortions.

Republican state Sen. Jan Angel spoke at the rally.

“Paying for abortions on our insurance with our premiums and our money is not acceptable,” she said to cheers from the crowd.

Among the bills being considered is a measure that would require employers to provide contraceptive coverage for employees. Another would allow Medicaid patients to be reimbursed for the cost of drugs, services or procedures involved in abortions, voluntary sterilization and contraception.

Copyright 2018 KUOW

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