Thousands showed up at the state Capitol Tuesday to declare their opposition to abortion and denounce a bill in the Legislature that would require insurers to cover it.
The annual March for Life drew somewhere between 4,000 and 4,500 people to Olympia Tuesday, according to crowd estimates from the State Patrol.
Attendance was about normal compared to past March for Life events, said State Patrol Sgt. Jason Hicks.
Demonstrators at the event gathered on the steps of the Legislative Building and the steps of Temple of Justice, with others spilling onto the Capitol flag circle and other areas of the Capitol.
Many in attendance held signs with messages such as Jesus was a fetus, Women do regret abortion and Abortion kills children.
Noreen McEntee Hobson, president of the March for Life, urged attendees to tell their lawmakers to vote against House Bill 2148, which would require insurers to cover abortion services in plans that also cover maternity care. A mandate is not a choice, McEntee Hobson told the crowd.
Several pro-life lawmakers also spoke at the rally, with many asserting their belief that life begins at conception and that insurance plans shouldnt be required to include abortion coverage.
We have to pay attention to life from the natural beginning to the natural end, said state Rep. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake. Only God can make those decisions.
The abortion insurance bill, which stalled last year in the state Senate, was given a hearing in the House Health Care & Wellness Committee on the first day of the 2014 legislative session.
Democratic supporters of the legislation often refer to the measure as the Reproductive Parity Act.
State Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said during the March for Life rally that the bill isnt about parity at all.
You know what parity they have? Padden asked. The parity they have is they want to equate life with death.
March for Life organizers schedule the event each year to roughly coincide with the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Courts Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the United States. The court issued the landmark decision on Jan. 22, 1973.