In the wake of last Friday’s Supreme Court decision scrapping Roe v. Wade, we’re taking a look at the state of affairs for abortion access locally, where Seattle and Washington elected officials and candidates stand and how you can get involved if you’re concerned about the ruling. We’ve got everything summed up below.
📜 The decision: On June 24, six weeks after someone leaked a draft of the decision to POLITICO, six of the Supreme Court’s nine justices struck down Roe v. Wade in their ruling in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case had challenged Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. Though Chief Justice John Roberts joined the majority in their judgment, he called the Dobbs decision a “serious jolt to the legal system. The court’s three liberal-leaning justices deplored the decision in their dissent, decrying its impact on Americans and the court’s reputation.
💬 What elected officials say: Washington governor Jay Inslee said, “Washington state remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting the ability and right of every patient who comes to our state in need of abortion care, and we will fight like hell to restore that right to patients all across the country.” King County Executive Dow Constantine called attention to the fact that although Washington state law protects the right to abortion care “we know that neighboring states are poised to impose some of the strictest and most punitive abortion bans our nation has ever seen.” He recently authorized a $500,000 emergency fund for King County’s public health system to respond to the incoming surge. Port of Seattle Comissioner Toshika Grace Hasegawa opened up on Twitter about the three abortions she’s had in her life and said “As a separately elected official, I’ll put every ounce of my political capital towards supporting candidates who will adamantly advocate for our rights.”
🏛 Current law says: Abortion is legal in Washington, and has been since 1991, as stated in Initiative 120. It says that “the state may not deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion prior to viability of the fetus, or to protect her life or health.” Many expect WA to become a destination for those seeking abortions if the procedure is banned in neighboring states like Idaho. Gov. Inslee says he’s instructed Washington State Patrol not to cooperate with law enforcement officials from other states who may be investigating people who travel to Washington seeking abortions.
🆘 Who’s helping on the ground: The Northwest Abortion Access Fund serves Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska and helps people who need an abortion in a variety of ways. Pro-Choice Washington put together a list of five actions you can take today and Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and Idaho and Planned Parenthood Great Northwest accepting donations to support work around abortion access. Locals rallied downtown last Friday and Saturday in protest of the decision, and as other protests, rallies and gatherings pop-up, we’ll be sure to share them.
As of July 27 — People who seek abortion care in Seattle are officially protected from arrest, thanks to a bill that was just passed by the City Council. Councilmember Kshama Sawant introduced the legislation on the same day the Supreme Court announced their decision to repeal abortion protections. The measure makes our city a sanctuary for abortion rights by prohibiting SPD officers from “process[ing] arrest warrants for patients, doctors and providers who have been criminalized in other states.” This protocol builds on Gov. Inslee’s Executive Order that instructs state and city police to not assist cops from other states who are investigating and enforcing abortion as a criminal act. City Council voted unanimously in favor of the legislation. (The Stranger)
Please send us an email to [email protected], if you have any feedback or thoughts on what information, resources, etc. you’d like me to gather and share as we step into this new territory.