SEATTLE (AP) — Dozens of women on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Rob McKenna, alleging that his participation in legal action seeking to overturn the new federal health care law threatens access to comprehensive coverage for women.

The politically charged lawsuit is seeking a ruling that McKenna violated his ethical duties by asking the Supreme Court to invalidate protections for women’s health care. As of Thursday morning, 90 women had signed on as plaintiffs in the case.

McKenna, a GOP candidate for governor, joined other GOP attorneys general in the federal health care lawsuit more than a year ago. He objected to a provision that required people to buy private health insurance or face a fine.

He said that mandate was unconstitutional, though he supported other parts of the new law.

In the lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court, the women say they want to force McKenna to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to maintain women’s health care requirements, no matter how justices rule on the individual mandate.

McKenna campaign spokesman Charles McCray called it a “frivolous lawsuit,” and said it was a shame to have this kind of distraction.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs from the firm of Smith & Lowney PLLC say McKenna’s actions are not in the best interest of Washington state and its residents, which he is obligated by law to represent.

McKenna “has greater latitude than many attorneys to determine what he believes to be in the best interests of the State’s citizens. However, that latitude does not include misinforming the citizens of the nature of his actions, arguments and litigation engages on their behalf. The duties of candor and avoiding conflicts of interest apply to all lawyers, including the Attorney General,” the lawsuit said.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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