Bill prohibits health care bias

OLYMPIA — Employers would be prohibited from discriminating against women seeking full health care under a bill proposed to the Legislature.

Senate Bill 5760, introduced by 22 senators, is in the Senate Commerce, Labor and Sports Committee.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, allowing privately held employers to discriminate against women by restricting their access to contraception, “was an outrage and threatened women’s health and women’s rights,” said Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-40th District. “It remains an attack on our core values and is unacceptable; we will protect contraception and family planning at every opportunity.”

The bill would ensure women have access to contraception under their health care plans in Washington state by strengthening the Washington Law Against Discrimination.

“Barrier-free access to birth control should be a choice that remains available to all women, as discrimination against women and women’s health needs is contrary to our values as citizens of this state,” said Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-49th District. “This legislation safeguards the right of Washington women to receive essential health coverage.”

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