Abortion coverage bill advances in WA Senate

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Lawmakers are moving forward with a bill that would link requiring abortion coverage to maternity care.

The measure was approved Monday by the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee.

According to the Office of the State Insurance Commissioner, all health insurance carriers in the state already have plans that cover abortion. However, while there is already a maternity mandate in state law, there is not a similar mandate for abortion.

Supporters say the bill would ensure that existing abortion coverage will be preserved once federal health insurance rules come into effect in 2014 under national health care reform. Opponents counter that the measure may lead to more abortions and would prove expensive.

The bill passed the House last week, and now awaits a vote on the Senate floor.