Inslee and lawmakers roll out more reproductive freedom bills for 2023 legislative session

Today, Governor Jay Inslee and lawmakers announced several policy proposals that will be part of a 2023 legislative package to strengthen access and protection for patients seeking abortion and other reproductive health services. They were joined by more than a dozen religious leaders and representatives of reproductive care providers.

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

Rep. Drew Hansen previewed a sanctuary policy that will help protect patients in states like Texas or Idaho from punishment for lawfully seeking and receiving lawful health care services in the state. from Washington.

“If other states get creative and aggressive in passing anti-choice laws, we’ll be creative and aggressive in fighting back,” Hansen said. “We will use every tool at our disposal to protect reproductive rights in our state.

Rep. Tarra Simmons discussed a bill first introduced last session that would prevent the erosion of choice due to health care consolidation. Large private health care organizations have rapidly acquired competitors, leading to long waits, fewer choices, and new restrictions for gender-affirming and reproductive health care.

The bill will require oversight of health system consolidation to ensure that care remains affordable, accessible and maintained at a high level of quality. The bill will also combat extralegal restrictions imposed by health systems that prevent patients from receiving legal abortion or gender-affirming care.

“The rapid consolidation of the health system affects the quality of care – professionals cannot provide care to the maximum of their abilities or to the standard that patients deserve,” Simmons said.

The event was held at the Wayside United Church of Christ in Federal Way. Amy Johnson, a church minister, assured Washingtonians that she and many other faith leaders embrace people considering abortion, LTBTQ+ people, and gender-affirming care-seekers.

“I have worked for five decades for human rights and justice,” Johnson said. “We affirm all genders and open our doors to LGBTQ+ people as children of God, created in the image of God.”

Governor Jay Inslee, state lawmakers, faith leaders and reproductive care providers gathered Friday at Federal Way at Wayside United Church of Christ to announce additional measures to protect reproductive freedom and the right to choose .

The event followed a press conference last week in Bellingham where Inslee claimed he would seek legislation to pursue a constitutional amendment that expressly establishes a fundamental right to abortion and a fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives.

At this event, Senator Manka Dhingra and Representative Vandana Slatter announced a health data bill which will close a glaring legal loophole that allows non-medical organizations to collect, share or sell private health information. The bill also prohibits the collection of data on specific locations related to reproductive and gender-affirming care. Attorney General Bob Ferguson calls for the legislation.

In the months following the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the United States Supreme Court, 13 states have enacted bans on all or nearly all abortions. Nearly half of states are expected to similarly limit abortion care services.

Immediately after the Dobbs decision in June, Inslee joined the governors of California and Oregon in launch a multi-state engagement to reproductive freedom. Inslee and the lawmakers then announced their intention pursue a series of policies aimed at increasing access to and support for abortion providers and patients. At that press conference, Inslee announced that it was making $1 million in emergency funds available to reproductive care clinics, and it issued a directive to the Washington State Patrol for refusing to cooperate with abortion-related investigative requests from agencies in states with severe abortion limits.

Governor Jay Inslee hosted multiple events to announce a 2023 pro-choice legislative package that includes bills to protect data privacy, prevent adverse out-of-state lawsuits, and limit erosion of choice due to health system mergers. The governor fully supports a state constitutional amendment to permanently codify the right to choose.

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