Governor Jay Inslee purchased 30,000 abortion pills through the Department of Corrections today in advance of a ruling out of Texas that could rescind the FDA approval of abortion pills. This cost the Washington taxpayers $1.8 million. The University of Washington also purchased 10,000 pills to contribute to the “stockpile.”
Senator Keiser has sponsored SB 5768 which will allow the administration of the mifepristone supply to providers in the state. This bill has an emergency clause which would make the law take effect immediately upon signing.
“The last year has made it clear that we cannot be complacent when it comes to reproductive health,” Keiser said. “The Legislature is taking a number of crucial steps this session to protect abortion rights, but those rights are meaningless without access to care. We cannot allow an extremist judge in Texas to deny Washingtonians access to this safe, effective medication, and that’s why I’m sponsoring this bill.”
In an interview with The Seattle Times :
Julie Barrett, founder of Conservative Ladies of Washington, an advocacy group that opposes abortion, said she did not agree with the use of taxpayer money for the purchase of the medication.
“I think this kind of goes along with what we’ve been seeing since the overturn of Roe last June,” Barrett said, “… this instilling fear in the people of Washington that they are going to lose their access or right to abortion when Washington has taken great measures to protect and advance abortion here.”
The Governor announced his new two-step plan to stockpile mifepristone in anticipation of the Texas ruling.
- Directed Dept. of Corrections to purchase a 3-year supply of mifepristone, the primary drug used in medication abortions.
- A 3-year supply (30,000 doses) was purchased by the state yesterday.
- Claims that Dept. of Corrections, because of their unique purchasing and distribution authority under state law, is the entity that must run the stockpile. (The full details of this structure necessity are unclear).
- Administer the mifepristone supply to providers in the state.
- Need a new bill to do so, therefore, SB 5768 (Keiser) just dropped and will go straight to Ways & Means. House companion is HB 1854 (Bateman)
- Inslee further stated that all of the mechanisms are in place to run this state stockpile within the state. However, the new bill is needed to allow the delivery of mifepristone within the state.
Inslee requested that the Univ. of Washington also purchase doses for stockpiling. UW agreed and purchased 10,000 doses of mifepristone. Based on current usage, Inslee claims that this 40,000-dose supply will cover the state’s need for 4 years if mifepristone is banned nationwide.
Sen. Keiser & Rep. Bateman spoke to the “urgent need” for the stockpile. AG Ferguson explained that WA, along with 17 other states, filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of WA to expand access to mifepristone. Inslee then said it was fitting that because WA was the first state to legalize abortion at the ballot box it should also be the first state to acquire a mifepristone stockpile, which he termed “an insurance policy” against restrictions in distributing medication for abortion.
The Governor pointed to pending Idaho legislation seeking to prevent its citizens from traveling across state lines to seek an abortion. Finally, he acknowledged both the Shield Law bill (HB 1469) and the health care data privacy bill (HB 1155) as bills that needed to get to his desk immediately so that he can sign them to protect abortion access.
This bill will move quickly. It was dropped today and will see a hearing in the Ways & Means Committee in the coming days, before it would go to the senate floor for a vote. Please take action NOW and send your legislators an email asking them to vote NO on SB 5768. Click the button below to take action now!