Guest Post from Washington State: Jay Inslee for Governor
by Sara Kiesler, Communications Specialist, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest
Washington is one of those states that have always valued women’s reproductive health care. Even before Roe. V. Wade, the state demonstrated its commitment to protecting women’s access to comprehensive care by legalizing abortion. Fast forward to today, you’ll find that same level of commitment to women’s health. Most recently, our state legislature stood up for women by passing a final budget that recognized the importance of protecting access to birth control.
But in 2012, things could quickly change if Washingtonians take this support for women for granted. With just a two-seat pro-choice majority in the Senate and a governor’s race that has a clear pro-choice candidate, we need to ensure our values are matched by our leaders.
Congressman Jay Inslee, who represented the 1st Congressional District for 12 years before stepping down to run for governor, is clearly the best candidate for women in the gubernatorial race. That’s why Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest endorsed Inslee last week, with gusto. His voting record in Congress is 100 percent pro-choice, and at a recent question and answer forum, he promised our supporters he would “be very vocal” on the subject of reproductive rights.
On the other hand, his opponent, Attorney General Rob McKenna, has signed onto the lawsuit that threatens to overturn the Affordable Care Act which would subsequently erase a number of pro-women’s health policies. Because of the Affordable Care Act, women will be protected from insurance companies charging higher premiums (sometimes up to 150 percent more than men), young people can stay on their parents’ plans up until they’re 26 years old, and birth control will be covered with no co-pay. Those are the benefits that McKenna wants to repeal.
While Jay Inslee and his wife Trudi have been longtime supporters of Planned Parenthood, they also have been out there supporting our efforts to protect women’s comprehensive health care by supporting bills like the Reproductive Parity Act (RPA), a bill that ensures women don’t lose their insurance coverage when seeking abortion care (something they currently benefit from in Washington State). McKenna has avoided taking a stance on the RPA, putting partisan politics above the health care needs of Washington State.
But McKenna’s lack of commitment to women’s health goes further. Yesterday, a youth worker approached McKenna and asked him his position on the Reproductive Parity Act. Not only did McKenna try and avoid the question, but he accused the young woman of trying to gain political advantage, and ended his interaction by telling her “Why don’t you go get a job?”
Given the attacks that women’s health has come under in the past year and a half, Washington State needs someone like Congressman Inslee as our governor, someone who will stand up for women’s health care, not someone who will avoid the important questions.
Since 2010, lawmakers have introduced more than 2,000 reproductive health provisions in legislatures across the country, the vast majority of which seek to undermine women's health. , We cannot let this continue in Washington. As the only candidate that is outspoken in defense of pro-choice values — values that align with Washington State voters — Jay Inslee is the best fit to be a leader of our great state.
Photo Credit: The AP