OLYMPIA, Wash. -

For the third year in a row, Democratic state lawmakers are pushing a measure that would require Washington insurers offering maternity care to also cover elective abortions.

In a public hearing yesterday held just hours after the start of the legislative session, the state House's Health Care and Wellness Committee heard arguments from both sides of the debate. 

Opponents of the abortion insurance law have long argued that it's unnecessary since all the plans in the state have been providing abortion coverage. Advocates have been worried that plans may change due to new rules that create more administrative burdens for insurers when they cover abortions.

The measure passed the House last year, but stalled in the Senate, which is controlled by the Majority Coalition Caucus, a group of 24 Republicans and two Democrats.