Dear friends and neighbors:
Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, many states have adopted radical and dangerous laws eliminating access to reproductive care. Activist judges have also made rulings that further threaten access to critical services, including safe and effective abortion medication.
The Washington state constitution has provided explicit protection for the right to privacy since it was adopted in 1889. The people of our state have twice voted to protect abortion rights: first by passing Referendum 20 in 1970, more than two years before the Roe decision, and second by passing Initiative 120, the Reproductive Privacy Act, in 1991, codifying the Roe protections into state law.
During the 2023 legislative session, Democrats prioritized legislation to strengthen legal rights and access to reproductive care. By the time we adjourned last week, we had passed several new laws to ensure Washington remains a beacon for reproductive choice.
- HB 1155 will protect patients’ privacy. The My Health, My Data Act is a first-in-the-nation law to prevent companies from collecting, selling, and sharing your sensitive health data without permission.
- SB 5242 will eliminate out-of-pocket costs for patients seeking abortion care.
- HB 1469 will shield patients and health care providers from retribution by other states.
- HB 1340 will protect providers who deliver care in accordance with Washington state law from license discipline.
- SB 5768 will safeguard access to the safe, effective abortion medication mifepristone.
The Legislature also funded reproductive health care infrastructure through a budget proviso of $16 million to support clinics experiencing an influx of out-of-state patients. I’m proud Washington is ranked one of the top three states in the country for reproductive rights and access to essential reproductive health care services. I’m committed to ensuring our state continues to provide excellent care our residents and for people in other states who seek care here when their rights are taken away.
Thanks for taking the time to read this newsletter. I’ll continue to provide weekly updates on the Legislature’s work this year. If you missed my newsletter on gun safety legislation, it is available here. As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions at Jamie.Pedersen@leg.wa.gov.