Dear friends:

While we had reason to know it was coming, news of the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft opinion to repeal Roe v. Wade is alarming on numerous levels.

First, this radical change would reverse 50 years of settled law. This is no small matter. At all levels, our courts steadily clarify and improve our laws by building on existing laws — not blatantly upending them. “Legal precedent” is the bedrock on which our entire legal system stands. To radically violate the most fundamental tenet in our entire system of justice will destroy the high court’s credibility and shatter any notion that that we should expect fair, consistent treatment in our legal system.

Whether you believe in the right to choose, or you trust in our courts to respect and honor past legal precedents, or you believe individuals should have control over their bodies, this court opinion flies in the face of half a century of settled law and the reproductive rights of Americans.

Here in Washington, we were not caught unprepared. After public comments in past months made it clear recent court appointees were seriously considering the repeal of Roe v. Wade and similar settled law, the Legislature took critical action this year to codify these basic rights at the state level.

By passing House Bill 1851, we ensured the reproductive rights and freedom of Washington residents in two key ways. First, the law explicitly allows physician assistants, advance registered nurse practitioners and other providers acting within their scope of practice to perform abortions. Second, it prohibits the state from taking action against someone based on a pregnancy outcome or for assisting someone who is pregnant in exercising their right to reproductive freedom.

I am proud to have voted for this critical state law to protect these fundamental, crucial rights. Regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court does, people in Washington and people who come to Washington know that here the right to choose is protected against the whims of judicial appointees who would exert personal ideology to override legal precedent.