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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

CONTACT:

NAF Communications Department
202-667-5881

NAF Commends Washington Governor, Legislature for Ensuring Continued Coverage for Victims

New Law Ensures Crime Victims Remain Insured

Olympia, WA - National Abortion Federation President and CEO Vicki Saporta today lauded a bill signed into law by Governor Christine Gregoire on Monday that prevents insurance companies from dropping policy holders who are the victims of crimes. Specifically, the law protects health care facilities, individual health care providers, and religious organizations.

"We are encouraged that this new law protects doctors - and in turn the women they serve - from being further victimized," said Saporta. "Governor Gregoire and the Washington legislature had the foresight to know that it's wrong for insurance companies to further victimize those who have already been attacked by either canceling their insurance policies or refusing to renew them. Forcing victims out of business is bad public policy."

The new law makes it illegal for insurance companies to cancel policies, refuse to renew policies, or create significant premium hikes after a health care provider or facility has been victimized by "arson or malicious mischief." The bill states, "The legislature finds that access to insurance can be imperiled by the response of insurers to criminal acts. Rather than allow criminals to achieve their objectives, it is the intent of the legislature that criminals, through criminal acts, should not dictate insurance underwriting decisions. It is the intent of the legislature that courts should use restitution from perpetrators of intentional property crimes to make property owners and insurers whole."

"NAF supports this measure which keeps crime victims safe from repercussions," said Saporta. "We are optimistic given that some states have already passed similar laws and there is a groundswell in still others to introduce similar legislation. I think most Americans would agree that it is not fair to punish someone who has been through a violent crime by making them a victim all over again. We challenge any state that is not already considering such safeguards to follow Washington's lead and do so quickly."

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The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers in the United States and Canada. Our mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care to promote health and justice for women. Our members include health care professionals at clinics, doctors' offices, and hospitals, who together care for more than half the women in both countries who choose abortion each year. For more information, visit our website at www.prochoice.org

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