Less than two weeks into the 2013 legislative session, 18 members of the new Senate Majority Coalition have signed on to a controversial abortion bill.
Sen. Don Benton (R-Vancouver) and Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-Potlatch) co-sponsored the bill that would ban doctors from performing abortions on minors unless their parents or guardians had been notified first.
The introduction of Senate Bill 5156 comes on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Hundreds of anti-abortion protesters are expected for the annual March for Life rally on the steps of the Capitol at noon today.
Sen. Mike Padden (R- Spokane Valley), who is chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, said he plans to convene a hearing on bill.
“This bill wouldn’t prohibit an underage girl from having an abortion, but it would make sure a parent or guardian has the chance to have that conversation, to provide that care,” Padden said in a news release.
Supporters of the measure also released the results of state-wide poll showing 65 percent of people support a parental notification law. The poll was commissioned by Human Life of Washington.
The issue of reproductive rights has already become a contentious issue among lawmakers this session after Gov. Jay Inslee voiced support for passage of the Reproductive Parity Act during his inaugural speech.
Republican criticized Inslee for using the stage to discuss the measure, which would require insurance companies to cover abortions if they also cover live births.
Inslee said he would sign the measure if it ever reached his desk.