Hundreds of people turned out for the annual March for Life. Photo by Taylor McAvoy

Hundreds of people turned out for the annual March for Life. Photo by Taylor McAvoy

Hundreds gather in Olympia for 40th annual March For Life

The march, which is timed to the anniversary of Roe v Wade, took place as legislators considered bills that would broaden access to abortion services.

Under a sea of umbrellas, hundreds of pro-life activists held roses and signs on the steps of the Capitol Legislative Building in Olympia on Monday.

Republican lawmakers spoke to the crowd at the annual March For Life, calling for a halt to several bill aimed at broadening access to contraception and abortion services.

“We have to be louder and stronger than them because we are on the right side of life and of this issue,” Representative Liz Pike, R-Battle Ground, said to the crowd, asking them to speak to their representatives.

One of the bills the pro-life activists oppose is SB 6219, or the Reproductive Parity Act, sponsored by Senator Steve Hobbs, D-Snohomish. The bill was passed out of the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee on Monday. The act would allow the state to provide funding for contraception and abortions for those who cannot afford them.

“I think it’s fitting that we move this bill out of committee on the anniversary of Roe v Wade,” Committee Chair Senator Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, said.

At the rally, Senator Jan Angel, R-Kitsap raised objections.

“Paying for abortions on our insurance, with our premiums, and our money is not acceptable,” she said.

The dozen or so counter protesters on hand included Aquila Krause, shown here speaking with a Washington State Patrol officer near the Temple of Justice at the Capitol. Photo by Taylor McAvoy

The dozen or so counter protesters on hand included Aquila Krause, shown here speaking with a Washington State Patrol officer near the Temple of Justice at the Capitol. Photo by Taylor McAvoy

Among other bills the group opposed were two sponsored by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island.

Ranker’s proposed SB 6102 would require employers who offer health coverage to also cover abortion and contraception with no copay. Ranker sponsored the Employee Reproductive Choice Act in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Burwell v Hobby Lobby and President Donald Trump’s rollbacks on healthcare coverage.

His SB 6105 would make state-funded reproductive programs like abortion, birth control, and hormone therapy, as well as counseling available to undocumented immigrants and transgender patients.

“If we are going to treat everyone with equality, if we are going to be driven by kindness and by love in the decisions that we make, we must not exclude this critical population within our communities from the services we provide,” Ranker said in an impassioned statement to lawmakers.

Both of Ranker’s bills were heard on Monday.

This report was produced by the Olympia bureau of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association.

Most in attendance were opposed to bills heard that same day concerning abortion and contraceptive measures. Photo by Taylor McAvoy

Most in attendance were opposed to bills heard that same day concerning abortion and contraceptive measures. Photo by Taylor McAvoy

More in Northwest

Photo by Visitor7/Wikimedia
Proposal to eliminate the death penalty passes the Senate

After passionate floor debate, the bill moves to the House.

Photo by Visitor7/Wikimedia
A fight over the role of unions erupts in Olympia

State Democrats push labor union-friendly bills while Republicans cry foul play.

John Kerry in Olympia to advocate for governor’s carbon tax

Former U.S. Secretary of State said “Washington has an opportunity to lead.”

Photo by Kathryn Decker/Flickr
State legislators look to “ban the box”

The House of Representatives votes to end questioning criminal history on job applications.

By Nicole Jennings
Bill expanding wrongful death actions passes the Senate

The bill would do away with a law that opponents say is antiquated and xenophobic.

The other Robert E. Lee

Some people in Kent thought their police station was named for the Confederate general. They were wrong.

Lawmakers consider a plan to help homeless college students

In addition to education, the program would help students find housing and provide meal plans and stipends for clothing, laundry, and showers.

Students could utilize the proposed program to attend state colleges, including the University of Washington in Seattle. Photo by Punctured Bicycle/Wikimedia
Proposed bill would provide free college tuition to some students

The Evergreen Free College Program being called for would benefit both middle-income and low-income students.

Lawmaker pitches vocational scholarships at rural community colleges

The bill would provide assistance for residents that make less than 70 percent of the state median income.

Photo by Visitor7/Wikimedia
Washington health insurance market in flux

Premiums have skyrocketed, prompting a response from lawmakers.

Photo by Visitor7/Wikimedia
A bill before lawmakers would outlaw concealed carry on private property

Opponents say that such a move would undermine the safety and rights of gun owners.

A sign from an earlier era at the Seattle Fire Department headquarters. Photo by Alex Garland
Washington lawmakers seek to increase nuclear attack preparations

Bipartisan bills in the House and Senate could remove Cold War-era emergency planning restrictions.