Incomplete. That’s the score NARAL Pro-Choice Washington gives the Washington state legislature in our first annual legislative scorecard, which takes a hard look at individual legislators’ records on issues that impact women and reproductive rights during the past session.
Although surveys show consistently that Washington state residents are overwhelmingly pro-choice, legislators failed to represent their constituents’ values, declining to pass bills that would have protected pregnant workers and expanded access to birth control. At the same time, bills that would have eliminated funding for abortions for low-income women and banned so-called “sex-selective” abortions gave anti-choice lawmakers like Steve O’Ban and David Taylor an opportunity to use their megaphones to argue for some of the most anti-choice legislation this state has seen in decades.
28th Legislative District grades:
- Christine Kilduff (D): B
- Dick Muri (R): D
- Steve O’Ban (R): F
What’s most striking about this year’s scores, however, is that most legislators landed not at the extreme ends of the grade scale but smack in the middle. The large number of “C” grades for legislators who are generally pro-choice highlights the key point of this year’s scorecard: It isn’t enough to be passively pro-choice. To be a champion, legislators have to propose and work actively for pro-choice legislation, and fight efforts to defeat bills like the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.
Too many legislators this year voted the right way when given the opportunity but didn’t work proactively to promote pro-choice legislation, didn’t push their fellow legislators, and didn’t take public action to promote policies that best serve women.
This scorecard puts lawmakers on notice: If legislators want the pro-choice vote, they can’t take their pro-choice constituents for granted.
Bills that we considered when drafting our scorecard included: the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act,12 months of birth control, the equal pay act, and (on the anti-choice end of the spectrum) proposals to ban Medicaid funding for abortions and prohibit sex-selective abortions.
This is a crossroads year nationally, with basic reproductive rights at stake in the Presidential election. But it’s also a pivotal election year here in Washington, with our pro-choice majority in the balance. We need to not only increase our majority but cultivate and promote true champions who will put reproductive freedom front and center in Olympia, instead of on the back burner.
Read the full scorecard, and find out how legislators in your district fared, at NARAL Pro-Choice Washington’s website: www.prochoicewashington.org/in-our-state/scorecard.shtml (download to search).
Release submitted by NARAL Pro-Choice Washington.Print This Post