AP NEWS

Even opponents can try to cash in on a hero bill

April 7, 2019

Just as it’s an ill wind that sometimes does someone some good, it’s possible that someone can turn a “hero” bill into a “villain” bill in the hopes of making some money.

Or so it seems with the bill asking Washington to ban abortion at any point after a sperm fertilizes an ova. As Spin Control explained last week, this is purely a hero bill – one which has no chance of getting a hearing, let alone passing, because it was filed after the deadline for considering such bills. It is simply designed to appeal to anti-abortion constituents of Spokane Valley Rep. Matt Shea, the sponsor, and the three co-sponsors.

That didn’t keep NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, the political organization on the other side of the abortion debate, from using it to try to shake some money out of its supporters.

In a somewhat breathless email with “URGENT: Stop WA Abortion Ban” in the subject line, the group called the bill and a rally at the Capitol last Monday “a real threat to reproductive health care in Washington. The small but vocal minority absolutely want to take away our right to bodily autonomy and criminalize women. They know the Supreme Court is now on their side.”

Well, that does sound terrible enough for anyone wishing to keep abortion legal to click the link to “chip in $15 to help NARAL Pro-Choice Washington take down this bill.”

That is, if they didn’t know that the rally in question wasn’t strictly about ending abortion, but a series of bills that included protesting the possible end to the personal exemption for measles vaccinations and new requirements for sex education classes in schools.

Or if they didn’t know that there’s no pressing need to “take down” a bill that is assigned to a committee where the chairwoman, Rep. Eileen Cody, is a supporter of abortion rights and has no intention of giving it a hearing – even if it were within the deadline for a hearing on such a significant change in state policy, which it isn’t.

Or if they didn’t know that the bill, if it were somehow to pass the Democratic, abortion-rights supporting majorities in both chambers of the Legislature, would certainly be vetoed by an abortion-rights supporting governor who is running for president in a party where support for a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health choices is a litmus test.

That bill doesn’t need taking down. It’s chances are roughly at the depth of the Mariana Trench.

In its appeal, the group makes mention of a “manifesto” from Shea that it describes as a “call for Christians to use violence to end same-sex marriage and criminalize abortion.” Shea has described those writings as a compilation of sermons on biblical war in the Old Testament.

But even if NARAL Pro-Choice Washington is right about Shea’s intent, they should be tickled pink that this is how he decides to execute it, with a bill that has zero chance of becoming law.

Maybe they should have said ‘simoleons’

The Legislature is dealing with an operating budget north of $52 billion, which, as a previous newspaper story noted, is a pile of cash. During debate on the Senate’s version of the budget last week, some lawmakers struggled to come up with other words for “dollars” in underplaying amounts that many of us would consider a chunk of change.

“I’m hopeful that there might be a few shekels, somewhere in this budget,” Sen. Ann Rivers said about her request for $1.5 million for a screening program to detect and eradicate Hepatitis C.

Sen. Jim Honeyford asked for $450,000 for an autonomous vehicles program at a community college outpost in Sunnyside. That’s 0.009 percent of the budget, he said, or “even less than budget dust.”

Coming up with new terms didn’t help. Both amendments failed.

Look for this to come up on Monday

Also during the debate over the Senate budget, a proposal to remove the sales tax on feminine hygiene products and diapers came up. It failed Friday but might be part of discussions this week.

But Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Christina Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, said the discussion shouldn’t stop there.

“Women of the entire Legislature should unite, not just on the sales tax,” she said, but “on why on earth cotton and paper products cost so much.”