Gov. Inslee, legislators roll out more reproductive freedom bills for 2023

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee and lawmakers announced several policy proposals on Friday to strengthen access and protection for patients seeking abortions or other reproductive health services.

The proposals will be part of a 2023 legislative package.

“Access to a woman’s right of choice is a health care issue,” Gov. Inslee said. “Health care must remain the providence of individual Washington women. These laws will keep the tentacles of restrictive states out of Washington.”

One of these policies aims to protect patients from states that would punish them for seeking and receiving health care services in Washington.

“If other states are going to be creative and aggressive in making anti-choice laws, we will be creative and aggressive in fighting back,” said Rep. Drew Hansen. “We are going to use every tool at our disposal to protect reproductive rights in our state.”

The bill will also require oversight for health system consolidation to ensure care remains affordable, accessible, and held to a high standard of quality.

“Rapid health system consolidation affects quality of care – professionals cannot provide care to the fullest of their ability, or to the standard that patients deserve,” said Rep. Tarra Simmons.

Additionally, the bill will combat legal restrictions from health systems blocking patients from abortions or gender-affirming care.

In the months since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, 13 states have enacted bans on all or nearly all abortions, including Idaho. Nearly half of states are expected to similarly limit abortion care services.

Inslee previously announced he’s making $1 million in emergency funds available for reproductive care clinics, and he also issued a directive to the Washington State Patrol to refuse to cooperate with investigatory requests related to abortion that come from agencies in states with severe abortion limits.

You can view the full press conference of the announcement here.

READ: Governor Inslee, Washington lawmakers announcing legislation ‘protecting abortion access’