'West Coast states will fight like hell' to protect abortion rights in wake of Roe v Wade overturning
As news broke Friday morning that the Supreme Court officially overturned Roe v Wade, Washington's leaders quickly weighed in.
Among those statements was an announcement from Governor Jay Inslee that Washington is joining with Oregon and California to "fight like hell" in a multistate partnership that will protect abortion rights. The states will fend off attempts to spread abortion bans, and counter efforts to intimidate or investigate people who travel to the states for medical services.
Via Twitter, Gov. Inslee noted that Washington state's laws remain unchanged — abortion is still legal and protected in the state.
"...but the threat to patient access and privacy has never been more dangerous. Even in Washington state, Republicans have introduced about 40 bills in the past six years to roll back abortion rights and access to reproductive care."
"The right of choice should not depend on which party holds the majority, but that’s where we find ourselves," Inslee said. "More than half the nation’s population now lacks safe access to a medical procedure that only a patient and their doctor can and should make for themselves."
RELATED: Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade
Inslee added that Washington is joining a multistate "Commitment to Reproductive Freedom," along with Oregon and California.
Washington responds to overturning Roe v Wade
Other Washington lawmakers and public figures also weighed in upon hearing the news. Some cheered the Supreme Court decision, while others chided it.
King County Executive Dow Constantine
King County's top official announced that the county will put $1 million in emergency funding toward safe access to abortion.
"This morning’s ruling by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade is the culmination of a decades-long strategy by right-wing zealots to strip the essential right to abortion care from millions of Americans," Executive Dow Constantine said.
Constantine said that nearby states are likely to outlaw abortions, or restrict them, which will cause many people to come to Washington for the medical services. The emergency funding is aimed at covering added costs from an influx of people from outside the state.
A total of $500, 000 will go to the Northwest Abortion Access Fund. Another $500,000 will go to Public Health - Seattle & King County.
Congressmember Jaimie Herrera-Beutler (Washington's 2nd congressional district)
"Wherever you stand on the issue of abortion, today’s Supreme Court ruling – though momentous – does not change abortion access in Washington state where it is still regulated by the governor and legislative majorities and subject to voter initiative. Southwest Washington residents know where I stand on honoring and protecting life and my efforts in Congress will remain consistent, from upholding the decades-old prohibition of spending federal taxpayer money on abortions to requiring life-saving treatment for babies who survive late-term abortion attempts.”
Sen. Maria Cantwell
"This is a sad and tragic day in America. Millions of Americans are losing their rights to control their own bodies and their own healthcare."
"Despite decades of Republican Supreme Court nominees coming before the Judiciary Committee and saying that they believe Roe v. Wade is settled law, they have taken a sledgehammer to the right to privacy. Some of our state’s biggest employers could be asked to give personal reproductive data to states that criminalize abortion. That’s why, as one step, I co-sponsored the My Body, My Data Act, which would give Americans strong, enforceable rights to protect their most sensitive health information. We know that 70% of Americans did not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned. They want these rights upheld. Mainstream Americans have counted on this right, depended on this right, exercised this right, and now several justices on the Supreme Court are going back on their word and upending settled law to take this right away. Americans could now be criminalized for exercising their personal right of if and when to start a family, and be at risk of suffering life-altering pregnancy complications or death — and their doctors and nurses could be thrown in jail. I am hopeful that Americans will respond, as we always have when our rights are taken away. The 70% of Americans who agree must have their voices heard on the constitutional right to privacy. I’m calling on all Americans who believe in this right to exercise their voice and their vote. Every legislative tool and initiative process should be considered. As we face attempts to shut down vital health services, now more than ever we need to give our support to the patients who depend on them and the medical professionals who provide them."
Congressmember Pramila Jayapal (Washington's 7th congressional district)
Congressmember Derek Kilmer (Washington's 6th congressional district)
Congressmember Rick Larsen (Washington's 2nd congressional district)
"I think this decision is wrongheaded, I think it's dangerous. I don't think we need to be rolling back hard-earned rights ... the fight starts now."
Senator Patty Murray
Congressmember Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Washington's 5th congressional district)
In a statement via Twitter, Rep. McMorris Rodgers said that "This is one of the most momentous days in American history for the dignity and sanctity of every human life."
"This is just the beginning of a new era to define the human rights issue of our generation and to provide care, hope, and support for moms and their children at every stage of their lives.
"Every life is worth living. May this remain the moral bedrock that guides us and our great nation."
Within her statement, McMorris Rodgers also said that the "Democrats want an extreme and discriminatory pro-abortion agenda to be the law of the land," alleging that Democrats' "agenda" is as radical as China and North Korea. She further claims that Democrats want to pass abortion laws and discriminate based on sex, race, and disability.
McMorris Rodgers claims center on what she called the "Abortion on Demand Until Birth Act," which is a right wing talking point. The actual bill is called the "Women's Health Protection Act of 2021" and aims to "protect a person’s ability to determine whether to continue or end a pregnancy, and to protect a health care provider’s ability to provide abortion services." Basically, it would codify Roe v Wade into law. The bill passed in the House last year, but did not make it passed the Senate (with a 46-48 vote).
Congressmember Dan Newhouse (Washington's 4th congressional district)
Representative Dan Newhouse released a statement, saying that "Today, life wins."
Congressmember Adam Smith (Washington's 9th congressional district)
State and other local officials
State Senator John Braun (Washington's 20th District)
State Senate Republican leader John Braun said that the Supreme Court decision does not affect the law in Washington state.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson
Via a campaign email, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson
Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued a shameful decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
While this news presents severe implications for the entire nation, I want to be clear: Washingtonians’ access to abortion is not going anywhere.
Washington State codified a woman’s right to abortion care by passing the Reproductive Privacy Act in 1991. As long as I serve in public office, I will fight to defend Washingtonians' legal and fundamental right to make their own health care decisions.
And that’s not all. Because the Supreme Court’s decision allows states to become more hostile towards women and their healthcare decisions, I will seek protections for abortion providers and individuals facing prosecution or sanctions in other states that have criminalized abortion.
Public Health - Seattle & King County
Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant
Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant blamed not only Republicans, but Democrats for allowing Roe v Wade to be overturned.
According to KNKX reporter Lilly Ana Fowler, Sawant intends to introduce legislation to establish Seattle as a "Sanctuary City for pregnant people and their doctors."