OLYMPIA – Employers in Washington state who provide reproductive health care benefits would gain recourse against penalties imposed by other states under legislation filed by Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines) and Rep. Liz Berry (D-Seattle).
“After the U.S. Supreme Court’s radical decision to take away reproductive freedom, lawmakers and governors in other states are attempting to penalize employers who provide reproductive health care benefits,” said Keiser, chair of the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee. “While we can’t change those states’ laws, we can provide employers who are simply providing reproductive health benefits with a way to protect the company from retaliation by creating a path to seek redress.”
Under SB 5260 (HB 1286), when an employer has a judgment entered against it in another state simply because it has provided support for reproductive health care services permitted under Washington law, the employer may recover damages here in Washington from the people who brought the action or sought to enforce the judgment.
“I am proud that access to reproductive care is a fundamental right in the State of Washington,” said Berry, chair of the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee. “This bill will rightly stand up against attempts by other states that target employers who provide critical reproductive health benefits all employees deserve.”
Other legislation filed so far this year to protect reproductive freedoms includes a constitutional amendment protecting the right to birth control and abortion, a bill that would eliminate cost-sharing for abortions, and a bill to protect sensitive health-related data. More legislation is expected to be filed in the coming days.