Enshrining reproductive freedom in the state constitution

Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), spoke at the Senate Committee on Health & Long Term Care today in strong support of a proposed amendment, SJR 8202, seeking to codify abortion and access to reproductive healthcare in the Washington state constitution.

“For over 50 years, the right to choose was guaranteed in all 50 states. And then six justices on the U.S. Supreme Court decided to take away the right to choose from half of all Americans, the first time in history the Court has ever removed a civil right,” said Kuderer.

“Since then, there has been a clarion call to restore reproductive justice across this country from all age groups – from young people who are most impacted, to working parents, to our older population who marched and sacrificed to earn the right to choose.

“We turned out this past election cycle in record numbers and we are showing up again today. And tomorrow. And the next day. We show up every single day until we further safeguard the human right to healthcare and restore our right to reproductive justice.”

Right now, the state maintains the statutory right to abortion and reproductive healthcare, but there is no guarantee those statutes won’t be repealed, as in other states where Republicans hold the majority, or struck down or weakened by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Could Washington’s Reproductive Parity Act be next?” asked Sen. Karen Keiser, (D-Des Moines), Senate President Pro Tempore and sponsor of SJR 8202. “The Dobbs decision has put the fear of legal repercussions and threats into health care providers. Many say they don’t want to practice in abortion-restricted states. That puts maternal death rates nearly 62 percent higher in those states. Forcing people to take the risk of carrying a pregnancy to term against their will is not only a risk to their bodily autonomy, it is also a risk to their health. That’s why it’s so important that our state have a constitutional protection for reproductive freedom.”

In Washington state, Kuderer added, “this freedom, this right to reproductive healthcare, is not yet inalienable. By etching that right to our state’s constitution, we follow through on our promise to leave this world better than we came into it – we ensure that these rights never erode.”

TVW’s live coverage of the committee can be viewed at: https://tvw.org/video/senate-health-long-term-care-2023011502.


For more information or press inquiries: Staff: Sam Gutierrez, 360.786.7477 or Sam.Gutierrez@leg.wa.gov