Washington Governor Enacts Bills Upending Other States’ GOP Abortion Bans


Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a third-term Democrat, has signed a series of bills enacting protections for reproductive healthcare in various contexts, including at both the patient and provider levels.

Among the provisions are shielding measures for residents from potential out-of-state proceedings related to reproductive healthcare — or what is known as gender-affirming care — obtained within Washington state. In general, that means Washington will not be cooperating with — let alone extending the reach or implementation into Inslee’s jurisdiction — of cases potentially emerging in some other locale targeting either reproductive or gender-affirming care.

Similar measures have been implemented by other Democratic state leadership teams in light of the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, which had meant nationwide protections for abortion were available. Individual states can now set their own paths, and Idaho — which neighbors Washington — has rolled out limits on traveling to another state for an abortion for minors, making Inslee’s protections particularly relevant.

As summarized in a post on the governor’s account on Medium, which is a publishing platform, a law putting those shielding protections in place is wide-ranging: “The bill prohibits compliance with out-of-state subpoenas related to abortion and gender affirming care services; prevents cooperation with out-of-state investigations; bans extraditions related to abortion and gender affirming care services that occur legally in Washington; and protects providers from harassment for providing these services.”

Some of the other new measures Inslee has signed include stricter demands around the collection of health data via online services and a plan it seems would make abortions generally free, at least for patients with health insurance coverage. Another of the new laws also proactively establishes protections for Washington healthcare providers whose professional standing is potentially challenged someplace else. Inslee’s team has also been involved in other sweeping steps, like procuring a stockpile of mifepristone, which is a prescription drug used for abortions conducted via medications. Other states with Democratic leadership teams from California to Massachusetts have done the same amid confusion connected to a Trump-picked federal judge’s ruling that would undo the federal approval for using mifepristone. The U.S. Supreme Court decided to allow the drug to remain accessible while appeals proceed.