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House OKs bill requiring abortion coverage through health plans that cover maternity services

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OLYMPIA, Washington — For the fourth year in a row, the Democratic-controlled House has passed a measure that would require most Washington insurers offering maternity care to also cover elective abortions, but as in the past, it is not expected to advance in the Republican-led Senate.

House Bill 1647 passed on a mostly party line 51-46 vote Tuesday. The measure also would require contraception to be covered for free. A companion bill introduced by Democrats in the Senate this year never received a public hearing.

Bill supporters say it would ensure continued coverage for abortions as new health plans come online through the new health exchange. Opponents say that abortion insurance coverage is already widespread in Washington state and that the bill is unnecessary, and that it threatens the religious freedoms of those who oppose abortion rights. The bill also

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