OLYMPIA – While other states are passing laws to severely restrict abortion access, Washington lawmakers are introducing a bevy of new bills to ensure reproductive care is protected for anyone seeking help in our state.
New legislation introduced by Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) and Sen. Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline), HB 1340/SB 5400, ensures that health providers can’t be disciplined or have their license denied for “unprofessional conduct” if that was the result of providing reproductive health services or gender affirming care in accordance with Washington state law, regardless of where the patient resides. Additionally, providers who have been punished in violation of another state’s laws won’t be denied based on the service provided if it is legal and allowed in Washington state.
“Washington will remain a place where access to essential healthcare will be vigorously protected, and that includes protecting the providers who ensure patients can get care. Spokane and other communities across the border have seen an increase in patients coming from Idaho seeking reproductive health care because of the laws passed in that state and with that increase comes more risk that our providers could have their license to practice threatened. We can’t let that happen,” said Riccelli.
“We must do whatever it takes to protect reproductive rights in our state starting by protecting those that provide access to reproductive health care. We will not allow the Supreme Court’s radical decision to take away reproductive freedom to result in retaliation against essential workers who provide critical healthcare,” said Salomon.
Katina Rue, DO, President of the Washington State Medical Association, shared the following: “Since the fall of Roe, Washington state physicians and health care providers have been concerned about how the anti-choice laws of other states may impact us here. We want to continue providing the full range of reproductive health care services, including abortion, to our patients without fear that doing so could put our medical license in jeopardy. The state must continue to be a safe haven for access to abortion for our health care professionals as well as the patients they serve. This legislation will ensure stronger protections as we navigate these new uncertainties.”
Other reproductive care bills introduced by Democrats include:
- HB 1115/SB 5242 prime sponsored by Sen. Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver) and Rep. Jessica Bateman (D-Olympia) to eliminate cost-sharing for patients seeking abortion care,
- HB 1155/SB 5351 providing protection to consumer reproductive health data sponsored by Sen. Mankha Dhingra (D-Redmond) and Rep. Vandana Slatter (D-Bellevue),
- HB 1286/SB 5260 protecting employers for providing reproductive health care services permitted under Washington law from Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines) and Rep. Liz Berry (D-Seattle), and
- The Keep Our Care Act (SB 5241/HB 1263) from Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton) and Rep. Tarra Simmons (D-Bremerton).