OLYMPIA – Washingtonians would be guaranteed uninterrupted access to the safe, effective medication used in nearly 60% of abortions in the state, under a bill passed by the Senate today on a 28-18 party-line vote after a lengthy debate.

At the direction of Gov. Jay Inslee, the state Department of Corrections (DOC) has purchased a three-year supply of mifepristone using its existing statutory authority and pharmacy license.

SB 5768 would give DOC the authority to dispense, distribute or sell the medication to providers, clinics and others.

These actions are intended to ensure the abortion medication remains available in Washington even if manufacturing were to be paused due to the uncertainty created by two federal lawsuits regarding the federal Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone, in which judges have issued potentially conflicting rulings.

“The people of Washington have voted twice to ensure that reproductive freedom is a fundamental right in our state,” said Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), the bill’s sponsor. “But that right means nothing without actual access to care.

“For nearly 60% of abortions in our state, the exercise of that fundamental right comes down to having access to mifepristone. We cannot allow an unelected judge in Texas to ignore more than two decades of evidence and deny Washingtonians a safe, effective medication for their reproductive choice.”

Six amendments were considered on the floor of the Senate, none adopted.

The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

More information about the actions taken to secure a supply of mifepristone for Washingtonians is available in a press release from Gov. Inslee’s office.