State lawmakers take up abortion debate amid uncertain future for Roe v. Wade

Jan 20, 2022, 2:06 PM | Updated: Jan 21, 2022, 10:30 am
Protesters in Washington, D.C. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The national debate surrounding abortion and reproductive rights is also taking place in Washington state during 2022’s legislative session.

State leaders react as Supreme Court weighs challenge to abortion laws

For Democrats in the state Legislature, that comes in the form of a new bill from state Sen. Emily Randall, which would seek to update outdated language in Washington laws related to abortion rights, as well as codifying existing practices.

Randall’s bill would clarify that licensed providers and clinicians can legally provide abortion care, even if they’re not doctors.

“The science and the research is so clear that qualified licensed advanced practice clinicians are important in our network of access to abortion care,” she said during a Thursday press conference. “That’s why this legislative session, I’m proud to be the Senate sponsor of new legislation to codify those previous opinions and to ensure that an expanded pool of health care providers can provide abortions.”

The bill received a hearing in the state Senate’s Healthcare and Wellness Committee on Thursday, with Randall describing it as “a Democratic priority in both chambers.” She also expressed confidence in the legislation having “a clear path to the governor’s desk” by the end of the session.

Given that abortion providers across the United States are bracing for the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn or weaken Roe v. Wade in 2022, Randall believes strengthening Washington’s protections is more important now that ever, especially if neighboring states opt to restrict their own reproductive rights.

“Abortion providers in Washington are rapidly preparing for the increase in women and people of a reproductive age between 15 and 49, who will drive hundreds of miles to Washington borders from our neighbors in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Nevada, depending on what type of ban the Supreme Court institutes,” she described.

This comes while Republicans in the Washington Legislature have introduced a trio of bills designed to roll back the state’s abortion protections. The first comes from state Rep. Brad Klippert in the form of HB 1679, which would make medical abortion methods received through pills a felony, excepting situations where they would be necessary to preserving the life of the mother.

Washington AG joins coalition in lawsuit against ‘wrong, unlawful’ Texas abortion ban

The second — SB 5516 — is sponsored by Republican Sen. Phil Fortunato. It would seek to require what’s known as informed consent before an abortion could be performed. That means a physician would have to inform a woman in writing of alternative options to receiving an abortion, as well as the “probable gestational age of the unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed,” and the legal requirements the father of the child would have if the pregnancy was brought to term. The woman would then have to verify in writing that she received that information, and then formally offer consent to the procedure.

The third bill is also from Sen. Fortunato. SB 5625 would mandate that all abortion providers transmit data to the state Department of Health regarding the number of failed abortions resulting in a live birth, the number of patients who become “unintentionally sterile” during an abortion, and the average length of stay in the hospital due to abortion-related complications.

As Sen. Randall pointed out, though, none of the bills proposed by Republicans are likely to progress during this legislative session, particularly in a Legislature where Democrats control both chambers.

“Often these bills by our Republican colleagues that are attacks on abortion access and reproductive rights don’t get hearings, and I don’t have any reason to believe that this year would be different,” she noted. “There’s just not the time to hear bills that aren’t going to have a path forward, and I can say very confidently that these Republican bills in this makeup of our Legislature don’t have a path forward.”

Even so, she expressed that it’s “important to keep an eye on them.”

“With the national conversation with us facing the overturning of Roe [v. Wade] at the Supreme Court, we are going to continue having more divisive conversations in our communities, and even though we know that most Washingtonians support reproductive rights, we can’t just pass by these messaging bills,” Randall said.

“I think it’s important for us to track them, to keep an eye on them, and to ensure that we’re being bolder than ever before to strengthen reproductive rights in our state,” she added.

Local News

(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)...
MyNorthwest Staff

Copper River Salmon is back with its most inflated price yet

Alaska’s Copper River salmon arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Tuesday morning, marking the start of the season for the popular fish.
1 day ago
Students working in a sloyd room at the Indian Industrial School. (Photo courtesy of the William A....
Frank Sumrall

Federal Indian boarding schools implemented systematic cultural whitewashing, new report reveals

The U.S. Interior Department published a report detailing the atrocities committed at boarding schools against Indigenous people. 
1 day ago
Dalton Day

What Seattle’s recent election reveals about the success of democracy vouchers

Andrew Grant Houston's campaign for mayor asks questions about the success or failure of Seattle's democracy vouchers program.
1 day ago
Blood reserves are filtered and processed in the central laboratory of the DRK blood donation servi...
Nicole Jennings

PNW blood platelet shortage no longer ‘critical,’ but 2,000 donations still needed

The Pacific Northwest is in need of thousands of blood platelet donations. Blood platelets stop us from bleeding to death when we have a cut.
1 day ago
Follow @http://twitter.com/Mynorthwest...
MyNorthwest Staff

ORCA overhauls system with added features and updated card readers

ORCA's highly-anticipated new website, smartphone app, and real-time value loading for cards launched today for hundred of thousands of transit customers.
2 days ago
ExperTec Automotive technician Adelmo Rodriguez etches a catalytic converter with the cars license ...
Micki Gamez

Catalytic converter theft runs rampant in Seattle, nation sees dramatic increase

Catalytic converters became a hot commodity during the pandemic due to the high-priced metals, such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium, within them.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
State lawmakers take up abortion debate amid uncertain future for Roe v. Wade