Darryl already linked to Rob McKenna’s non-answer of the Reproductive Parity Act/ telling someone to get a job because they asked him a question. The news is the get a job part, but the Reproductive Parity Act is reveling too:
First off, he doesn’t seem to know the history of the Reproductive Parity Act. I mean his answer, “I’m a lawyer for the State” doesn’t make sense. He seems to think the question referred to a law his office might have to defend. Does he not know it didn’t pass the legislature? Was he confusing it with the pharmacy regulations? It was one of Washington’s pro-choice community’s biggest concerns in the last session and the fact that he isn’t aware of what happened with it doesn’t signal much of a commitment to women’s health.
Now, Rob McKenna is an ostensibly pro-choice politician, and that would be great if that was a simple binary. But this brings up that state government does a lot of things that — even if the governor isn’t trying to outlaw abortion — can have an impact on women’s access to health care including abortion. We’re seeing trap laws in Mississippi and other states that are making it tougher for doctors to perform abortions. While I doubt we’d go that far in Washington, the governor can enact many regulations that might make it tougher for abortion providers. States are pulling or considering pulling funding for Planned Parenthood. In tight budget times, we don’t know if he’ll look to pull that sort of funding even if ostensibly he supports their mission.
Closer to home, the Reproductive Parity Act that he seems not to know anything about passed the state house and looked destined to pass the state senate until the budget shenanigans. It seems reasonable to ask if he’d veto or sign it if it made it to his desk. In the previous session, the legislature passed a bill expanding family planning services to women from 200% of poverty to 250%. While this doesn’t turn on abortion since it’s taking federal money, it’s easy enough to see McKenna using his line item veto on it in a bid to save money (it’s penny wise and pound foolish, but that hasn’t stopped other GOP ideas).
Finally, Republican politicians go from pro-choice to anti when going from a liberal state to trying to get the GOP nomination. Ronald Reagan signed the law that legalized abortion in California before opposing abortion when he ran for president. George Herbert Walker Bush was pro choice until he needed to be anti-choice to be selected as the Vice President. Mitt Romney used to be pro-choice in Massachusetts but he’s anti-choice now. This wouldn’t be too much of an issue if McKenna were adamantly pro-choice and willing to answer all choice questions. But since he isn’t, you have to wonder if this position is here to stay.