Inslee announces new policies to protect abortion access

Inslee announces new policies to protect abortion access

The policies would protect Washington’s status as a sanctuary state and reduce restrictions and obstacles to gender-affirming care.

OLYMPIA, Wash. —Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and lawmakers announced several policy proposals Friday that would strengthen access and protection for patients seeking abortion or other reproductive health services.

They were joined by more than a dozen faith leaders and representatives of reproductive care providers.

“Access to a woman’s right of choice is a health care issue,” said Inslee. “Health care must remain the providence of individual Washington women. These laws will keep the tentacles of restrictive states out of Washington.”

The policies would protect Washington’s status as a sanctuary state and reduce restrictions and obstacles to gender-affirming care.

The sanctuary policy would help protect patients from states like Texas or Idaho from being punished for lawfully seeking and receiving legal health care services in Washington state.

Another policy would ensure that care remains affordable, accessible and held to a high standard of quality. It will also combat extralegal restrictions imposed by health systems blocking patients from lawful abortion or gender-affirming care.

The event was held at the Wayside United Church of Christ in Federal Way. Amy Johnson, a minister at the church, said she and other faith leaders embrace people considering abortions, LTBTQ+ people and people seeking gender-affirming care.

“We affirm all genders and open our doors to LGBTQ+ people as children of God, created in God’s image,” Johnson said.

Protecting abortion rights has been a priority for the Washington governor, especially after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this past summer.

On Oct. 21, Inslee said he is working to propose a constitutional amendment to enshrine the right to abortion access. The amendment would also enshrine the right to use or refuse contraceptive services.

Inslee issued a directive on July 1 instructing the Washington State Patrol to not cooperate with out-of-state abortion investigations, a preemptive move in case states where abortion is banned or significantly restricted to seek whether their residents have traveled to the state.

The governor also signed a bill on March 17 to prohibit abortion laws in Washington state.

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