WASHINGTON, D.C. – A year after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision upended abortion rights, lawmakers from around the country met in the nation’s capital to detail their efforts to ensure reproductive freedom in their home states.
Sens. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) and Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue) represented the Washington State Senate at the event. Dhingra participated on a panel with lawmakers from Minnesota and Maryland entitled “Building a Powerful Policy Agenda” to discuss laws they passed to protect access to safe and legal abortions in their home states. Vice President Kamala Harris also attended Thursday’s event and was joined by senior White House officials.
Dhingra spoke specifically about the My Health My Data Act, which protects personal health data. The first-in-the-nation law requires companies like those that own period-tracking apps to get a person’s consent to collect, share or sell their health data.
“Washington has provided a blueprint for other states looking to protect and strengthen reproductive freedom,” said Dhingra, who sponsored the companion bill to the My Health My Data Act. “It was invigorating and reassuring to be in the company of other lawmakers fighting to protect these rights and to hear about their ideas to push back against extremism.”
“Today we celebrate the incredible strides we have made for reproductive freedom while acknowledging the urgency to continue our fight,” Kuderer said. “A year after the disastrous Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, we refuse to allow our rights to be eroded and we stand united in our commitment to ensuring reproductive freedom for all people. In Washington state, we are proud to lead the way, crafting policies that safeguard individual rights and protect every person’s right to choose. We must persist in our pursuit of a future where reproductive choices are respected and accessible to all.”
The Washington Legislature passed several measures to strengthen abortion access during the 2023 legislative session including:
- Prohibiting cost-sharing for abortion (SB 5242)
- The My Health My Data Act (HB 1155)
- The Shield Law protects people seeking an abortion in Washington, as well as providers, from prosecution in other states (HB 1469)
- Protecting health providers from professional disciplinary action in Washington for performing procedures that are legal here, regardless of laws in other states (HB 1340)
- Gives the DOC authority to act as a wholesaler and dispenser of mifepristone to Washington providers and patients (SB 5768)
In total, the two-day event featured 83 state legislators from 41 states. On Wednesday, 49 legislators from 25 states that have rolled back reproductive rights participated in a separate event to highlight the struggle in their states to protect abortion access. Thursday’s event featured 33 legislators from 16 states with strong abortion protection laws. In addition to Sens. Dhingra and Kuderer, Reps. Drew Hansen and My-Linh Thai were in attendance representing the Washington State House of Representatives.