Gov. Inslee previews prospective reproductive freedom policies for 2023

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday his agenda for the 2023 legislative session, highlighting reproductive care protection at a Bellingham press conference.

The sanctuary policy will provide patients and providers with legal tools and protections if there are any criminal or civil actions commenced against them for lawfully receiving or providing reproductive health care services or gender-affirming services in Washington state.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Drew Hansen, will help to protect patients from other states who seek health care services in Washington state.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson also requested legislation to prohibit non-health care organizations from collecting, sharing or selling private health information, as well as data on specific locations providing reproductive and gender-affirming care.

Inslee said he will be pursuing a constitutional amendment that will establish a fundamental right to an abortion and choosing or refusing contraceptives.

“We have storm clouds on the horizon. There are those that would like to threaten a woman’s right of choice,” said Inslee. “This right must be enshrined in the basic foundational document in the state: our constitution. This private right and most intimate decision must be protected.”

Inslee said additional abortion access protection bills will be announced next week.

In response, a spokesman for the Washington State Republican Party sent the following statement: “Washington state law, twice decided by the voters of our state, already establishes legal abortions in our state up until viability, with exceptions for the health of the mother. Unlike Democrats who consistently vote against the wishes of the voters, Republicans respect Washington voters and are focused on bringing to Olympia a renewed focus on restoring affordability and restoring public safety – issues the Democrats are willfully ignoring.”