Washington’s Abortion Directive: Political Posturing or Necessary Affirmation?

Washington’s Abortion Directive: Political Posturing or Necessary Affirmation?

*By Julie Barrett, Founder, Conservative Ladies of America

On Tuesday, Washington Governor, Jay Inslee, issued a directive to the Board of Health (BOH) to affirm that hospitals in Washington are legally required to provide emergency abortion services.

When contacted on Tuesday by the Seattle Times for comment, I had not yet heard about or read the directive released just hours before. I was confused as this is already law and there isn’t a need to “affirm” it. The only reason to do so would be to “virtue signal” during an election year…which is exactly what this is, in my opinion. Additionally, if democrats keep the abortion issue front and center for voters, maybe they’ll be distracted from the open border, record inflation, out of control crime, etc. However, media outlets report this directive is in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Idaho’s abortion laws.

In the directive, Inslee says: “In these times of uncertainty and misinformation, it is vital for state government to inform and reassure the public that our state law protects their right to access abortion care.”

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Current state law requires hospitals within Washington state to provide necessary emergency health care to all patients based on nationally recognized standards of care, including emergency abortion care. Inslee’s directive requires DOH to issue policy guidance that clarifies hospitals’ legal obligations and affirms that state law remains unchanged regardless of the SCOTUS ruling.

In the past 3 legislative sessions Washington has passed several new laws expanding abortion services and protections, including:

  • Affirm WA Abortion Access Act, passed in March 2022, expanding abortion access and “rights” in WA
  • Elimination of cost sharing for abortion – all abortions must be fully covered by insurance or paid for by taxpayers for Medicaid
  • The Shield Law: “counteract attempts from anti-choice states and vigilantes who try to interfere with or harass anyone attempting to receive or provide care in Washington state.” This law allows minors to be trafficked to WA for abortion or so-called “gender affirming care.”
  • Inslee purchases “stock pile” of mifepristone (abortion pill) in April 2023 at a cost of $1.8 MILLION to Washington taxpayers

*This is just a few – there have been a least a dozen new pro-abortion bills in the last 3 years.

Why this directive now?

I believe this is nothing more than virtue signaling in an election year. Abortion access is not “at risk” in Washington. However, Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, has been working hard to convince voters that his Republican opponent, Dave Reichert, will overturn abortion laws in Washington if elected. Reichert has even launched a video ad in response to these accusations. Washington Democrats have promised to amend the state constitution to add abortion should they achieve a supermajority.

My greatest concern with this directive and the existing laws is they could easily be used against pro-life medical clinics and religiously affiliated hospitals. Senator Padden also mentioned in his statement that this would violate the mission of “probably over 40% of hospitals in this state.”

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This directive is nothing more than fear-mongering and continuing to advance strong PRO abortion policies in Washington. Our team will be watching the rulemaking process with the Board of Health on this issue.

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Conservative Ladies of Washington

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