I have received many questions about what took place on Friday evening in regards to the Reproductive Parity Act, as well as a rather misguided press release from NARAL about my involvement.
Below, is a statement I released to the media that explains what took place and why I will continue to support reproductive rights with my vote anytime the Senate majority leadership decides to bring this important bill up for a vote.
For Immediate Release: Mar. 5, 2012
Litzow maintains support for Reproductive Parity Act despite political games by Senate majority leadership
OLYMPIA… Friday evening a bipartisan majority of senators invoked an extraordinary procedural step to break a major budget logjam. This highly-structured move allowed only budget-related bills to be a part of pending floor action.
The Reproductive Parity Act, which would require insurance providers that cover maternity care to also cover abortion services, had not yet been brought to the Senate floor despite a 5 p.m. deadline for such bills to pass. It was presented by majority leadership at the last minute as a political ploy to stop movement on the budget.
“I remain a strong pro-choice advocate and am deeply disappointed majority leadership used this important bill, which they had the votes to pass, as a political scheme,” said Litzow. “For weeks I have been advising NARAL and Planned Parenthood representatives to urge the majority party to bring the bill up for a vote.
“Similar to my work on the Marriage Equality bill, I pressed majority leadership to bring this issue to the floor early in the session to avoid getting caught in the budget debate. Unfortunately they did not heed my advice and decided to use the bill as a political pawn. I hope going forward that they will stop playing games with these important rights.
“My position on this bill and my longtime support for reproductive rights has not changed. If the Senate majority leadership decides to bring this bill to the floor for a vote in the upcoming special session, I will vote for it.”