To: The Washington State House, The Washington State Senate, and Governor Jay Inslee

Prohibit denial of legal health care services in WA state

Pass Washington law to prohibit religious organizations and businesses from denying legal health care services based on their religious ideologies.

Why is this important?

(Background) As more secular hospitals merge with religiously affiliated ones, nearly half of WA state hospital beds are now controlled by Catholic ideology that prohibits contraceptive counseling and contraceptive methods including condoms, birth control pills, morning after pills, IUDs, vasectomies and tubal ligations; and that prohibits fertility assistance, termination of pregnancy and the provision of information and referrals about the end of life option of "death with dignity", all of which are legal in WA State.

Non-Catholics and Catholics alike increasingly find themselves in situations in which the only health care available is subject to these restrictions dictated by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

WA State has the highest percentage of religious control of hospital beds in the U.S. and its continuing to increase (26% in 2010, 45% so far in 2014).

Some business owners refuse to include the same legal health care services in their company's health insurance plans.

Some pharmacy owners refuse to dispense certain legal contraception products.

Some health care providers continue to discriminate against LGBT families.

Substantial amounts of public funds in the form of Medicaid, Medicare, and Public Hospital District tax levies are paid to those hospitals and providers. Should religions, based solely on their ideologies, be allowed to deny legal health 'standard of care' to the general public who pay those taxes?

It's time to say, "Stop!" We believe that in medical care, the patient's rights must come first with all legal medical "Standards of Care" and "Best Practices" available for all residents of our state.

Washington citizens have worked for decades to place into law the Reproductive Privacy Act, the Death with Dignity Act, and Marriage Equality because in America individuals, not churches, decide matters of conscience.

State officials are responsible to make sure all these benefits are continually available to all WA residents.