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Post-Roe: WA, CA And OR Band Together For Reproductive Freedom

Patch logo Patch 6/24/2022 Charles Woodman
Washington is one of only a handful of states that has its own laws on the books affirming abortion as a right. © Shutterstock Washington is one of only a handful of states that has its own laws on the books affirming abortion as a right.

OLYMPIA, WA — After months of anticipation, the Supreme Court on Friday issued an official ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that provided constitutional protection of abortion rights for more than 50 years in America.

The move means that the legality of abortions is up to each individual state to decide once again. In response, the governors of Washington, Oregon and California were quick to declare Friday that their states would remain save havens for those seeking access to abortion.

“The law remains unchanged in Washington 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,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “The right of choice should not depend on which party holds the majority, but that’s where we find ourselves."

Washington, Oregon and California are among a handful of states that have their own laws guaranteeing safe access to abortions, and the leaders say: Those laws will remain in place.

“The Supreme Court has made it clear – they want to strip women of their liberty and let Republican states replace it with mandated birth because the right to choose an abortion is not ‘deeply rooted in history.’ They want to turn back the clock to a time when women had no right to make decisions about their own bodies, when women had to seek care in the shadows and at great danger, when women were not treated as equal citizens under the law," said California Gov. Gavin Newsom.


Video: Women born before Roe v. Wade organize politically on abortion rights (USA TODAY)

Women born before Roe v. Wade organize politically on abortion rights
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Inslee, Newsom and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown have announced a "Multi-State Commitment to Reproductive Freedom", promising to make the West Coast a place where access to contraceptives and abortion care remain accessible and protected.

“Abortion is health care, and no matter who you are or where you come from, Oregon doesn’t turn away anyone seeking health care. Period. Let me be clear: You cannot ban abortion, you can only ban safe abortions — and this disgraceful Supreme Court decision will undoubtedly put many people’s lives at risk, in addition to stripping away a constitutional right that disproportionately affects women and has been settled law for most of our lifetimes,” Brown said. “For all the Americans today feeling scared, angry and disappointed — for everyone who needs an abortion and does not know where they can access safe reproductive health care –– please know you are not alone, and the fight is not over.”

As part of the multi-state commitment, all three governors have agreed to protect the rights of refugees who travel to the West Coast to receive reproductive health care, to prevent law enforcement or the courts from investigating or punishing those who travel out of state for abortions, and to refuse extradition requests from other states for any individuals who receive legal reproductive healthcare services in Washington, Oregon or California.

"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," Inslee said. "Instead, law enforcement, vigilantes and judicial systems can force patients to bear the burdens of forced pregnancy and birth. Washington state remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting the ability and right of every patient who comes to our state in need of abortion care, and we will fight like hell to restore that right to patients all across the country.”

In 1991, the people of Washington voted in favor of the Reproductive Privacy Act, protecting the right to choose in Washington. Governor Inslee has floated the idea of enshrining access to abortions in the state constitution, making safe abortion access even harder to overturn, though at-present altering the state constitution would require the cooperation of some Republican state legislators.

The article Post-Roe: WA, CA And OR Band Together For Reproductive Freedom appeared first on Seattle Patch.

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