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Wash. Senators' 'Winning Legal Argument' Could Trump Hobby Lobby Ruling, Editorial States

October 24, 2014 — A group of state senators in Washington plans to introduce a bill in the 2015 legislative session that would "overturn the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision in the state," which they hope will "prevent discrimination against women by employers who refuse to offer contraceptive coverage in their health-care plans," an editorial in the Olympian states.

According to the editorial, the measure makes a "winning legal argument" and "would amend the Washington Law Against Discrimination to make the denial of contraceptive coverage an unfair practice."

The editorial argues that the measure could legally "trump" the high court's decision because the ruling "was based on a federal statute -- the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) [PL 103-141] -- not the Constitution," which means it applies only to "federal actions, not action by the states." As a result, "states are free to make laws and regulations requiring employers to cover women's reproductive health care in their insurance plans," the editorial states.

The editorial adds that it is "important for this legislation to succeed" because "its intended outcome -- to protect women's access to contraceptive coverage in employer-provided insurance plans -- is consistent with Washingtonian[s'] values" (Olympian, 10/22).