Inslee vows to stop ‘assault’ on Washington values post-Roe
After Friday’s announcement from the Supreme Court that Roe v. Wade would be overturned, thousands of protestors in cities across the country, including Seattle, marched in the streets demanding action to protect abortion rights.
In a press conference in Olympia this weekend, Washington Governor Jay Inslee spoke to a crowd gathered at the capitol steps vowing to take measures protecting abortion rights in Washington state.
“Mike Pence and the Republican Party have a plan to take away this right from Washington women, and we intend to stop them and we intend to stop them right here,” Inslee declared.
Abortion rights protection has already been legislated in Washington with the Reproductive Privacy Act, which passed in 1991.
In the law, Washington state is expressly forbidden from making legislation that would affect the fundamental right to privacy in choosing when or how to have birth control including abortions.
With the tumultuous midterm elections coming up in November, Inslee warned in his speech that his constituents are “one Republican majority of losing the right of choice in the state of Washington.”
In an effort to prevent this, Inslee is looking to the state constitution as a lasting way to pass abortion protection in Washington law.
“Washington citizens understand how this is important in every corner of the state of Washington,” Inslee said. “So we will have a constitutional amendment. And I can’t guarantee that it’ll pass. But if we elect enough people who believe in the right choice, it will.”
Other actions, including the recent Affirm Washington Abortion Access bill, aim to prevent anti-abortion states from interfering with Washington’s abortion protection by blocking lawsuits filed against abortion seekers or those that assist in providing one.
Along with this, Inslee called on that state to create a “sanctuary” against stricter abortion laws passed in other states, including the trigger ban going into effect 30 days after the Dobbs decision.
“But we have to understand that other states will be assaulting their citizens and by some extension ours as well,” Inslee said. “That is why we have to stand strong. And we will make Washington State a sanctuary state for the right of choice here in the state of Washington for other citizens as well.”
This comes alongside the recent announcement of Planned Parenthood filing a lawsuit in Idaho hoping to block the ban on the grounds that it violates equal protection laws, as well as the right to privacy outlined in rulings made by the Idaho Supreme Court.
In his announcement following the Roe decision, Inslee announced a series of new executive actions and legislature to continue the protections of Roe.
- Pursuing a constitutional amendment that solidifies the right of choice in Washington.
- An executive order that directs the Washington State Patrol to refuse cooperation with investigatory requests related to abortion that come from agencies in states that don’t allow abortion.
- $1 million in emergency funds to better ensure reproductive care clinics in Washington state can provide care to every patient who walks through their doors.
- Ensuring hospital mergers don’t result in erosion of access to abortion care, particularly in rural areas.
- Increased protection and safeguards involving patient data.
“We have to face reality,” Inslee urged. “This is the beginning of an assault on the values of Washington State. We believe that you ought to be able to love who you want to love … and the words of the Supreme Court justices have made it clear that that’s next on the plate. We believe you ought to have access to contraceptive services in our state and that’s next on the plate of these justices.”