OLYMPIA – Washingtonians would be guaranteed uninterrupted access to the safe, effective medication used in nearly 60% of abortions in the state, under a bill that passed the Senate Ways & Means Committee today.
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 distribute or sell the medication to clinics around the state.
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 demonstrated time and again — in polls and at the ballot box — that we support the right to reproductive freedom,” said Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), the bill’s sponsor. “But that right means nothing without actual access to care.
“For 10,000 women every year in our state, that 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.”
Five amendments were considered in the committee hearing, none adopted. The bill passed out of committee on a party line vote. The bill will go to the Rules Committee and be pulled to the Senate floor for action, potentially this week.
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.