Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Inslee reaffirms abortion protections in Washington amid upcoming Supreme Court rulings | Washington

By meerna Jun12,2024

(The Center Square) – Gov. Jay Inslee issued an executive order Tuesday requiring the Washington State Department of Health to confirm that hospitals in the state have a legal obligation to provide emergency abortion services.

The governor said the clarification is necessary because the state’s health care access law does not specifically mention “abortion care.”

Inslee said at a Tuesday morning news conference that upcoming U.S. Supreme Court rulings would be another reason to take action

“The court could any day again rule that federal emergency health care directives do not protect a woman’s right to an emergency abortion,” Inslee said. “We clarify that, in fact, the protections under Washington law will protect women in Washington State.”

Inslee’s directive comes nearly two years after the nation’s highest court overturned Roe v. Wade. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to rule this month in Moyle v. United States and Idaho v. United States and other abortion rights cases.

The Moyle case raises the question of whether Idaho’s abortion law conflicts with the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act.

Since the 2022 Dobbs decision that returned abortion to the states, Inslee and Democrats have sought to portray Washington as a safe haven for abortion services because recently reported at Central Square.

“The number of women requesting services from outside Washington state has increased by 50%,” Inslee noted.

He went on to say, “This has made abortion services cheaper and more accessible in Washington State. In the event that this same court continues its efforts to take away this right, we have stockpiled mifepristone to ensure that we will be able to provide pharmaceutical services when appropriate.”

Insle was the first governor to do so stockpile the pregnancy-terminating drug mifepristone ahead of a lower federal court ruling in Texas that is now pending before the Supreme Court.

Dr. Sarah Prager, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology, also attended the press conference

Prager said that since the Dobbs decision, she has treated several patients with pregnancy complications who came to Washington from other states.

“In all of these cases, their doctors were unsure or unable to provide care to terminate these nonviable pregnancies,” she said. “Abortion is always safer than continuing the pregnancy, and never more so than when there is an urgent fear for the life or health of the pregnant woman.”

Inslee said Republicans in Washington want to take away a woman’s right to have an abortion.

“Both candidates for governor are clear about their personal position on this matter,” the governor noted.

Both GOP candidates for governor responded to Inslee’s comments.

Representatives of the Semi Bird campaign emailed a response saying: “I continue to hear Bob Ferguson and Jay Inslee trying to intimidate women with the false narrative that their reproductive rights will be taken away if a Republican is elected Governor of Washington State. To be clear, the Governor has no right or authority to deprive anyone of their constitutional or lawful rights.”

Dave Reichert’s campaign posted advertisement last week she promised not to change abortion laws if elected as Washington’s next governor.

The candidate sent The Center Square an email saying, “As I said in my announcement last week, I will not change the state’s abortion laws while I am governor.”

Inslee said some Washington hospitals say they don’t have to provide abortion services because of religious affiliation.

“It will be clear that emergency services must be provided because of a woman’s right to choose,” Inslee said.

The Washington Hospital Association issued the order Press Release following comments saying there is no evidence that Washington hospitals are not providing adequate emergency care.

By meerna

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