Washington state’s Catholic bishops are asking Governor Jay Inslee to veto Senate Bill 6219, a recently passed bill mandating abortion coverage in all health care plans offered in the state that include maternity care.
The bill would “place religious employers and others at legal risk simply for following their religious or moral beliefs and exercising the fundamental right of conscience constitutionally guaranteed to all Americans,” the bishops wrote to Gov. Inslee in a March 5 letter.
“By forcibly coercing many of our state’s citizens to act against their consciences, the measure would abrogate this most basic and cherished right which we must defend as bishops, as citizens and people of faith.”
The bishops said any such bill should have “at a minimum” provided a religious exemption.
“Even those who do not share our unconditional commitment to the dignity of every person from the moment of conception, have every reason to support our right to exercise our conscience in accord with the teachings of our faith,” they added.
The letter was signed by Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, Spokane Bishop Thomas A. Daly, Yakima Bishop Joseph Tyson, and Seattle Auxiliary Bishops Eusebio Elizondo and Daniel Mueggenborg.
The state Senate gave final approval to the bill on March 3 with a 27-22 vote. It now awaits Gov. Inslee’s action.
Read the full letter below.