NARAL Pro-Choice Washington saw several significant victories for reproductive freedom during the 2017 legislative session, and successfully fought back anti-choice bills that would restrict the right to choose in Washington State. The state legislature remains nominally pro-choice, but we hope to gain at least one more pro-choice seat in the state senate this year and begin passing a true pro-active, pro-choice agenda in the 2018 session.
Victories for pro-choice advocates this year included:
Twelve Months of Birth Control (HB 1234) This common sense legislation ensures that you can get 12 months of birth control in one visit. Rep. June Robinson (D-38) was a stalwart champion on this issue.
Pregnancy Accommodations (SB 5835 and HB 1474) Legislators passed a limited pregnancy accommodations bill that requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers.While we are gratified to see legislators pursuing this important goal, the legislation passed falls far short by creating two classes of workers through exempting businesses with fewer than 15 employees—a departure from all other state anti-discrimination laws which applies to employers with 8 workers or fewer. We hope to resolve the employer-size issue in the next legislative session.
Paid Family Leave (SB 5975)In 2017, Washington state legislators passed a historic, bipartisan bill that requires employers to provide at least 12 weeks of paid leave to workers who need time off to care for a new child, to take care of a sick or injured family member, or to deal with a personal medical issue. The law also insures that low-income workers will receive at least 90 percent of their weekly income, making paid leave a viable option for workers at all income levels.
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington also successfully fought back against anti-choice attacks.
Parental Notification for Abortion (SB 5320 and HB 1003) We successfully pushed back against legislation from right-wing extremist Sens. Mike Padden (R-4) and Matt Shea (R-4) that would have required young women to obtain parental notification for abortions.
Prohibiting Use of Public Funds for Abortion (HB 1002) Rep. Eileen Cody (D-34) ensured this bill was never given a hearing and we are grateful for her leadership in preventing legislation that would have prohibited the state from funding abortions for low-income women.