Sen. Annette Cleveland released the following statement after comments today by several U.S. Supreme Court justices suggested a willingness to overturn the nation’s landmark Roe v Wade ruling. The court’s eventual ruling on Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization is not expected until June 2022 but could determine whether abortion remains legal under federal law.
“As a woman and as a lifelong advocate for reproductive choice, I am appalled to hear justices indicate an openness to reversing longstanding federal laws that protect a person’s right to choose.
“As a Washingtonian, however, I am reassured by the knowledge that we have adopted laws at the state level that proactively and explicitly protect reproductive rights and the right to an abortion even if recent Supreme Court appointees should decide to upend settled law.
“The justices’ alarming comments today serve notice that they may abandon the court’s practice of building on established law and instead reverse legal precedents established by prior courts. At the same time, this is a valuable reminder that our state can pass laws that protect Washingtonians’ rights in the event those rights should be reversed at the federal level.
“Now is a critical time to raise our voices and be heard in the fight for these kinds of precious, hard-won rights — rights that are preserved today, and for the foreseeable future, only because of important past actions we took. We cannot assume such rights will not face revocation in the months and years to come unless we codify them at the state level.
“As the state senator for the 49th District, I am proud to have voted with our Legislature to adopt laws that preserve Washingtonians’ rights, and I will continue to support legislation that protect Washingtonians from drastic changes on the part of federal court appointees.”
Cleveland (D-Vancouver) chairs the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee.