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Elections Have Consequences: Abortion Mandate, Surrogacy Contracts, and Therapy Ban All Advance in the Legislature

The Washington State legislature continues to prioritize a number of radical social policies in the 2018 legislative session.

Yesterday, the Senate passed SB 6037 legalizing contract surrogacy by a 27-21 vote margin. Several amendments were proposed but not adopted.  One amendment would have limited surrogacy contracts in Washington State to residents of Washington State.  This was an attempt to avoid challenges like those faced in Southeast Asia where the wealthy would fly in from all over the globe to take advantage of the surrogacy industry that developed there.

A second amendment would have prohibited surrogacy contracts with those who are mentally ill or have developmental disabilities.   It also failed.  This bill will not move to the House.

Over in the House of Representatives, two bills that were previously fast-tracked through the Senate had a hearing in the House Health and Wellness Committee.

Senate Bill 5722 would make it illegal for therapists to help a minor with unwanted same-sex attraction or identify with their biological sex. People who have been helped by the therapy at issue told the committee that conversations about sexuality and gender can be what some people need to find wholeness and overcome depression. Proponents of the bill testified that everyone who is anyone agrees with them that this therapy is always bad so they should pass it.

Senate Bill 6219 would force require every insurance policy in Washington State to cover abortion and thereby require everyone who purchases an insurance product to pay for abortions. Proponents of the bill claimed that it simply places the choice whether to have an abortion in the hands of the woman.  Opponents of the bill pointed out that it forces people who do not want to pay for other people’s abortions to do so.  Kim Wendt, a wife, mother, and veteran from Tacoma gave particularly compelling testimony that you can watch here.

No committee vote has been scheduled yet, but it is expected to happen within days and then move to the full House of Representatives for consideration.  Washington State residents can call their legislators through the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or email them by clicking here.   You are encouraged to do so at your earliest convenience.

The timing of all this activity indicates these bills are a high priority for the current legislative leadership.

The contract surrogacy bill was one of the first bills the Senate took up after the committee cut-off had passed and the House hearing on the Senate Bills is a full two weeks before they would typically consider Senate bills.

More than that, however, these bills remind us that elections have consequences.

None of them are being introduced for the first time, but a recent change in the Senate majority has provided a window of opportunity to pass them that had not been available for five years.

If you are concerned about legislation like this, and you should be, think seriously about whether you are willing to do the difficult work of running for public office to stand for what is good, true, and beautiful.

While people engage in legislative debates in January, the reality is that for all intents and purposes, public policy is made in during elections in November.  We hope you are part of the effort to persuade those who are currently in office, but many of you have already learned the old adage that its easier to change faces than minds.  have already discovered that it’s easier to change who represents you than to change the mind of someone who is committed to different values.

If you are thinking of running for office yourself, would like to know what it means to run for office, or would like to be better prepared to help someone else run for office, sign up to attend FPIW’s 2018 campaign school in Bellevue on Saturday, March 3rd.

The engaging, fast-paced presentation will surprise you with not only how much you learn about running a campaign but also with how much fun you had doing it.

Sign up today and bring a friend.

Remember, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”

To track all the bills that FPIW is following this legislative session, click here.

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