Muzzall introduces maternity-support bills to ensure pregnant women have a real choice

OLYMPIA… While Democratic legislators advocate legislation that seems aimed at making Washington a destination for women seeking abortions, state Sen. Ron Muzzall has introduced two proposals aimed at aiding women who choose motherhood.

Senate Bill 5580 would direct the state Health Care Authority to support extended post-delivery hospital care for women struggling with substance-use disorders.

Senate Bill 5581 would require the state insurance commissioner to work with health-care providers toward strategies to lower if not eliminate deductibles for maternal-support services and postpartum care.

“The choice to end a pregnancy is not something I believe that women take lightly but there are all kinds of factors that go into that decision that I could never understand,” said Muzzall, R-Oak Harbor, who is assistant Republican leader on the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee. “For women struggling that choose life, I want the state to provide support they need in motherhood. Reducing costs and providing maternal care is a strong start.”

On Tuesday, Democratic members on the health care-related committee endorsed Senate Joint Resolution 8202, which would amend the state constitution to cover the abortion rights established by Washington voters more than 30 years ago. Muzzall did not support the measure, saying there is absolutely no credible threat to abortion access, and therefore no need for another law.

“Unfortunately, I think the change in the constitution requested by Governor Inslee is more about performative politics than actually supporting women on an issue that has been long settled by the voters in our state,” Muzzall said. “My job is to represent my constituents and they have been clear that access to abortion is important. I stand by that. While my moral compass leads me to a different conclusion about life, I’m not going to demonize abortion or try to reduce access to abortion services, but it’s not something that I can personally support.”

Muzzall pushed back on Inslee’s description of those who disagree with the proposed amendment as “robbers.”

“No one is served by partisan name-calling over an emotionally charged issue. As a senator, I want to return civility in our political discourse. It’s a shame the governor won’t do the same. I think we can find common ground on the issue of abortion outside of the partisan heckling.

“There was a time not so long ago that we heard Democrats speak of reducing unintended pregnancies and making adoption more available and providing care and support for women who do carry their children to term. When did that become wrong? These bills would support women in ways that make choosing life the easier option. I can’t see why anyone would want to take that choice away.”

The abortion amendment was sent to the Senate Rules Committee, which will decide if it goes on the full Senate’s voting calendar.